The Midnight Visitors is a sweet picture book to help tell the story of Christmas to young children. Written from the viewpoint of a cow in the stable, you think you're going to get the same old story of the Nativity and a gift the cow gives to baby Jesus. However, instead you have a cute story about many animal visitors that enter the stable for warmth and comfort before Mary and Joseph ever do.
Juliet David uses her usual charming style to engage children's interest. The animals have names and talk to Miriam (the cow) begging her to let them come into her stable. The illustrations by Jo Parry are so sweet, soft and fluffy. I have no idea how you make illustrations look soft and fluffy, but she has done it.
The first half of the book focuses on the animals and the stable. Baby Jesus' arrival and all the events surrounding that are covered in the second half of the book: the visit from the angel to the shepherds, and then the shepherds finding Jesus. The book is conversational in style, with the animals talking to each other, and later the shepherds talking to Mary and Joseph.
This isn't a deep theological book about Christmas. But it's a sweet book that puts the focus where it should be, on the birth of Jesus, our Savior, rather than on Santa and elves and presents. I'm glad to add it to our family collection of Christmas books. My youngest three children are enjoying hearing it at bedtimes, and I'm sure I'll be reading it to grandchildren some day, as well.