Bethlehem Barn – Debra Westgate-Silva

I know it’s July, but as somebody pointed out, there is a whole Christmas-in-July movement. So Merry Christmas in Summer! It feels a little off, especially after the heat wave last week, but I suppose any month is a good month to think about Jesus coming into the world to save us.

Bethlehem Barn is a delightful picture book, set in a barn. The animals have just arrived and are tired and hungry. Cow finds a surprise in his food trough and all the animals want to see what has cow so surprised. Who is this baby and how did He come to be there?

Debra Westgate-Silva, the author, has written a delightful story, based on the legend that animals can talk on Christmas Eve. If they could, what would they have said that very first Christmas? Debra has brought together some lovely animals, and especially the little bird is central to the story as she has been around more than the others…

The pictures in Bethlehem Barn are beautiful, done by Marcin Piwowarski. He has captured the expressions of the animals very well, from Cow’s dismay at finding a baby in her trough to Bird trying to tell them the how and why, it’s a delightful book. The colours are gorgeous and the lines soft.

I loved how Debra brought so much truth into this short picture book, explaining who the Baby was, and why He had been born.  My favourite line? Sheep saying, “The Lamb of God!” Bethlehem Barn says ages 4-9, although I am sure even older children will enjoy the beautiful artwork. Bethlehem Barn would also lend itself to wonderful discussions with older children as it looks at prophecy and faith.

I received a review copy of this beautiful book but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review.

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