The National Catholic Review
Patricia A. Kossmann

In keeping with our longstanding custom, every December we recommend an illustrated gift book or a special-edition work to our club members. This month it is Art of the Crèche: Nativities From Around the World, by James L. Govan. For more details on this book see my piece called Deck the Shelves With Books Aplenty for more detail on this book. We’ve even reproduced two sample crèches for inclusion in the review.

Put simply and briefly, this book is a feast for the spirit, the mind and the senses. The author and his late wife, Emilia, have been avid collectors of crèches from around the world. The representation of Christ’s birth is celebrated in traditions on every continent, in a variety of images and representations; the book contains more than 100 striking samples in art forms ranging from oil to carving to wood and other materials. There is ample detailed and informative text (it is not a photo and caption book) that uplifts, inspires and broadens our appreciation of the influence of faith on art as they relate to a most treasured Christmas custom.

I can’t recommend the book highly enough. It is one of the most handsome books of its kind I’ve ever seen and something to be shared with family and friends. You (and they) will not be disappointed! A Blessed Christmas to all.