A child sits on its mother's lap and asks her to tell the Christmas story. The mother brings the very first Christmas celebration to life in the eyes of her child in such a way that the child "sees everything as if it had happened at home, in the stable of their own farm."
In 1961 Astrid Lindgren wrote this story, in which she talks about a poor couple who find refuge in a stable, where their child comes into the world on a winter night. In a few calm but striking words she succeeds in a masterly manner in creating an atmosphere of peace and happiness. The illustrations by Harald Wiberg in this beautiful volume also avoid trivialising the story. Wiberg contrasts the mood of a calm, clear winter's night with the warm, almost golden atmosphere inside the stable.
The special aspect of this most beautiful of all Christmas stories is that it could have happened anywhere - at any time and at any place in the world.
"Christmas in the stable" is a marvellous classic for children of all age groups. It is therefore not surprising that the edition which was first published by Oetinger in 1961 has been re-issued in identical form for over four decades now. In my opinion an edition from the year 2002 with new illustrations does not match the original.
Read aloud within the family circle on Christmas Eve, together with grandparents and parents who also grew up with this story, this little masterpiece hopefully remind us for a moment what is really important about Christmas.
Astrid Lindgren, the world's best-known writer of children's books, was born on Näs in Samland, Sweden, in 1907. She would have celebrated her one hundredth birthday this year. With her books, which are based mainly on her memories and pictures from her extremely happy childhood within a large family, she can be found in the rooms of generations of children from all around the world. For many children Pippi, Michel, Madita, Ronja and co. have not become just characters from a book but friends and members of the family.
Among other awards Astrid Lindgren received the Peace Prize of the German book trade, the alternative Nobel prize and the international Young People's Book Award price for her more than seventy picture volumes, children's stories and books for young people, which have been translated into over seventy languages.
Author: Astrid Lindgren
Puffin (September 1998)