I am a lover of all things Christmas. I could probably exist in a Christmastime world for more months of the year than not. I actually listen to Christmas music sporadically throughout the year as it just makes me feel joyful. However, as much as I love the traditions of Christmas, I truly am grounded in what the essence of Christmas really is – the birth of Jesus. As we celebrate Christmas in our home we never lose site that this event, Christ’s birth, is far greater and of more significance than all of our celebratory customs.
This is what I love about Beth Gully’s book, The Other Side of Christmas. The book embraces the fun and whimsical traditions of Christmas, such as Santa, sled riding, and tree decorating but grounds it in the truth of the Biblical telling of the birth of Jesus.
The Other Side of Christmas creatively incorporates a play on words with the story of Christmas as well as the book itself. Beth Gully utilizes a unique form of illustration known as an ambigram, in which the pictures can be viewed right side up as well as upside down, revealing two distinct perspectives of the same image. My daughter, who is 5 years old, was fascinated by this and spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how one picture could represent two different images. Her favorite image was (of course) that of both Santa and Jesus. This image alone, enfolding the whole of the book, led us to be able to have many discussions about Christmas and the Christmas story. Which, as a mom, is always a plus. I appreciate books that are not only fun to read but also spark my child to ponder and dig deeper than the words.
The style of the illustrations is quite challenging, particularly when you are enveloping them into a story format in which that exact image must align with its counterpart story on the reverse end. As someone who has very little to offer to the art world, I am mesmerized by Beth’s talent in being able to capture such a vision. Even though I would officially recommend this book for ages 4-8 years old, it is one that is valuable to all ages. The story itself is one to be treasured as we embark on the upcoming Christmas season. As we are getting our houses ready and experiencing all the traditions, which are fun and definitely wonderful to celebrate, The Other Side of Christmas reminds us to also remember to focus our attention back on the foundation of Christmas.
Beth Gully is a local author and illustrator who worked as a graphic artist for many years; until discovering one day when creating a Christmas card that when a word was flipped it resembled another. This led Beth to expand upon this and create the book “The Other Side of Christmas”. Beth is one of only one hundred artists that specialize in ambigram art.
“The Other Side of Christmas” and author Beth Gully have achieved many honors including the 2015 GOLD Award for Summit International Awards Competition and 2015 Gold ADDY winner for Cincinnati Ad Club, as well as others. The book is sold in 52 different locations, including 2 locations in Canada and can be found locally at Joseph Beth bookstores, The Golden Lamb in Lebanon, and Hallmark Books in West Chester. Beth also has other products including cards, ornaments, and other small trinkets. You can view the book and all of Beth Gully’s amazing work at http://animotionlogos.com/.