How a Backyard Bird Sees Christmas
An illustrated story in verse by Catherine Lawton
Nature / Advent / Christmas
Paperback / 7.5″x9.25″ / 34 pp.
Full-color mixed-media illustrations
For adults and the children in their lives. Be more child-at-heart and wonder-filled during Advent and Christmas.
As days shorten, leaves fall, nights grow chilly, and lights are strung on houses and trees, the birds at the backyard feeder observe the changes and they sense anticipation. What do the activities and preparations of people during this season mean? What is coming?
This story-in-verse is told through the eyes of a little Finch who can sense something significant approaching. A climax in the story is reached when snow falls and the children come outside to play in the snow. They bring the Finch a suet feeder and greet him with ‘Merry Christmas, little bird.’ Then he knows what is happening! He understands what is coming–Who has come and why all the Christmas lights make him feel like the stars–and Heaven–are coming down to earth.
Reading the story with children and grandchildren will encourage a sense of wonder and bring teachable moments to consider how even the wild creatures are cared for; to observe the changes in nature with the seasons; and to talk together about what it means for all people and all of creation that Christ came to earth and was born as a human being, which is what we celebrate on Christmas.
The author’s watercolor and mixed-media illustrations are intentionally child-like and make this a visually-engaging story for young and old.
While Catherine Lawton‘s published books include fiction, memoirs, and poetry for adults, this is her first children’s book. She painted the pictures and wrote the story for her young grandchildren after they visited her one Christmas. The grandchildren played in the backyard, threw snowballs, went sledding down the hill behind the house, decorated cookies, watched twinkling lights, sang Christmas carols, and fed the backyard birds. It all felt magical experiencing these things together; yet it all pointed to something bigger than all of these things put together: the wondrous time when the stars shone brighter and Heaven came to earth.
Reader Comments and Reviews:
“I felt my smile broaden as I turned every page, my anticipation heightened by the gorgeous paintings matching the clever and unpredictable verse. An Oh! so fresh telling of the old, old Christmas story!” –Alice Scott-Ferguson
“Delightful. I loved [the] artistry. [The] suggestions for activities while waiting for Christmas to come are so neat. Describing God’s world gives an exciting view of His creation and excitement that grows, looking for the arrival of His son, Jesus!” −Charlotte Marrs
“I love it. Delightful. Brings back childhood feelings of Christmas anticipation!” −Janyne McConnaughey
“I bought two and took one to my little grandsons. They LOVED it! The littlest loved the soft cover, too. He carried it around and kept stroking it. Great story and illustrations!” −Debbie Maples
“Even though I have no little ones to share it with, I got the book and I love it!” −Trish Turner
“A timeless classic crafted with love, thoughtfulness, creativity…Scenes of nature combined with the anticipation filling the air, builds up an excitement throughout the tale as each page gets us one step closer to something good that is coming. But what is it?…Moments are captured through the eyes of the backyard bird, who [finally] rejoices: ‘Heaven’s love is all around.’ [The book] includes a list of interactive activities for families and children to do while anticipating the arrival of Christmas such as prayer, poetry, painting, reading biblical verses, and collecting items of nature. We are pleased to present this book with a 5-star rating and believe this is a wonderful addition to any family’s collection and makes a terrific gift. Lawton’s spiritual joy and love for her Creator is like a magnificent glow, bright enough for all, spreading light and love…” −Realistic Poetry International