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The Christmas Story: From The King James Bible

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According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke from the King James Bible .

The story of the birth of Christ, celebrated around the world at Christmas, is one of the most beautiful in the New Testament. From Mary's meeting with the angel Gabriel to the birth of baby Jesus in a stable, to the visit of the shepherds and the three wise men, the story is rich in imagery and symbolism. Here, in a triumph of glorious art, is that wondrous story excerpted from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew from the King James Bible .

Gennady Spirin has been described in the Boston Globe as an artist who "truly represents the picture book as an object of art." In T he Christmas Story , his paintings are luminous and reverent. Drawing on both his classical training at the Stroganov Academy of Fine Arts in Moscow and his Orthodox Christian faith, Mr. Spirin has created a work of art to be passed from generation to generation.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published October 15, 1998

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About the author

Gennady Spirin

71 books40 followers
Gennady Spirin (1948- ) is a Russian painter and children's book illustrator. A graduate of the Surikov School of Fine Art in Moscow and the Moscow Stroganov Institute of Art, he is noted for his unique style of watercolor illustration. He has illustrated works by classic authors such as William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy as well as children's books by contemporary celebrities. His oil paintings hang in public and private galleries throughout the world, and he has been profiled by The New York Times. His depiction of The Nutcracker was selected by Saks Fifth Avenue as the centerpiece of their famous Christmas display in 1997 and 1998. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992, Spirin immigrated with his wife and sons to the United States, ultimately settling in Princeton, NJ, where he has lived and worked since.

(source: Wikipedia)

Alternate spellings:
Gennadij Spirin
Gennadi Spirin
Генадий Спирин

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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Beverly.
5,162 reviews4 followers
September 3, 2017
The text of the King James version of the Bible is used, with passages from Matthew and Luke interspersed in chronological order. Spirin's paintings are glorious, using tempera, watercolor and pencil on watercolor paper. The paintings are reminiscent of old master's paintings from the Renaissance period. The text is set in boxes surrounded by a border. There are a couple of wordless double page spreads. The first one depicts the angel's first visit to Mary, who is sitting on a chair with a book in her lap. When I saw this, I thought: first of all, bound books had not been invented yet; she should have been holding a scroll. And even then, a family was unlikely to own a scroll; the scroll would be in the Temple or synagogue. And second of all, it is very possible Mary did not know how to read, as many girls were not taught to read in those days. This caveat aside, it is still a lovely version of the Nativity.
Profile Image for Ruth.
1,410 reviews35 followers
October 10, 2018
Gorgeous Byzantine-inspired illustrations. Really tempted to buy this one, but I have a bunch of gorgeous KJV Nativity stories already. Bonus points for having more than three wise men, but it loses those points for having them show up at the manger.
Profile Image for Set.
1,560 reviews
April 10, 2018
The artwork is so beautiful and so medieval. Thank you Gennady for the lovely illustrations to the Christmas story through the book of Matthew.
Profile Image for Susan.
135 reviews
December 8, 2019
Beautiful story and illustrations; many of the illustrations ate quite dark tho.
Profile Image for Irini.
29 reviews
April 22, 2019
1. Awards the book has received: None
2. Appropriate grade level(s): 1st-4th
3. Original summary: This book tells the beautiful story of why we celebrate Christmas. It's such a great informational and traditional book to read to children to get to know the background story of Christmas.
4. Original review: I think The Christmas Story is a special book. Great story yes! A really important book to teach about Christmas! Great illustrations as well! very good book! It reminds me of the books I used to read when I was younger about Jesus and His birth! I enjoyed it! :)
5. 1-2 possible in-class uses: Think of other celebrations that we celebrate and relate to personal stories

Profile Image for Jonathan Kemmerer-Scovner.
Author 2 books10 followers
October 26, 2015
This is an absolutely gorgeous book which, on first glance, does not appear to be a picture book at all, but is surely a reproduction of classical paintings centered around the birth of the Christ. But this is not the case.

We are told only that Spirin is drawing on his "classical training and his Orthodox Christian faith." Some of the images are in a small box accompanied by a corresponding reading from one of the Gospels, whereas others are a full, double-page spread, the detail and the beauty of which is overwhelming.

My favorite illustration is of the angel visiting the shepherds. It appears as a huge, golden figure, luminous, slowly touching down with outstretched wings. The rest of the picture, by contrast, seems dark and obscure, but a closer look reveals the tiny figures of the shepherds as they cower their eyes and run for cover. The true scale becomes apparent.

For Spirin, the Christmas story is a cosmic one, in which the human players are tiny in comparison with the supernatural.


Profile Image for Nancy.
Author 9 books44 followers
December 22, 2012
Russian-born Gennady Spirin masterfully illustrates The Christmas Story, which begins with the angel Gabriel's visit to Mary and ends with the Wise Men worshipping the young child, Jesus. The artistry is reminiscent of biblical text surrounded with marginalia along with illustrations on opposing pages that look as though they have been borrowed directly from a Russian Orthodox church, some even with detailed icons in the corners of pages. The text comes directly from The King James Bible (the Gospels of Matthew and Luke) with a brief introduction of the Gospels of the Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. An Afterword describes how December 25 was eventually chosen as the Christian holiday to mark the birth of Christ. This beautifully prepared book will delight and inform both children and adults.
Profile Image for Stacy  Natal.
1,072 reviews11 followers
August 27, 2016
Written in the words of the gospel, it tells the story of Jesus' birth. I liked reading this version with the kids because we had to decipher the wording so that it made sense for them (lots of new vocabulary). I think that I lost my fifth grader part way through it, but still think it was a good story for her. I didn't love the illustrations, I think they were too ornate. Since the gospel was so arduous, I would have liked the photos to clarify the story a bit more.

447 reviews3 followers
October 8, 2015
Beautifully illustrated, and you can't really beat the King James version of the bible.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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