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In author’s notes, Patti Rokus shares the origin of her unique retelling of the Christmas story, which combines striking vignettes composed of rocks with brief phrases from the biblical account of Jesus’ birth. On a solo camping trip in the Pacific Northwest, Rokus hiked through forests and streams. She says of the rocks she collected there, “Each one of these rocks called out to me . . . I couldn’t resist holding each one, and soon my pockets were heavy with treasures that eventually filled my bucket. I didn’t know why I felt so compelled to take them home.”

On a visit to her mother, Rokus began to sort through her collection of rocks. As she moved them around, certain shapes caught her eye. One rock looked like a person kneeling, so she put a round rock above it as a head, and she saw a picture of Mary bowing before an angel. And so, it went. With the help of her mom, Rokus “found the entire Christmas story in that one bucket of rocks.”

As readers and listeners, young and old alike, learn the backstory of this marvelous children’s picture book and linger over its rustic yet exquisite artwork, they will gain a deeper appreciation of the Christmas story and the truth, as Rokus reminds readers, “that all things testify of Jesus Christ.” Ages 4 and up. (Zondervan)

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