The Gifts of the Animals: A Christmas Tale
Carole Gerber, Author
Yumi Shimokawara, Illustrator
Familius, Fiction, Oct. 1, 2019
Suitable for Ages: 3-8
Themes: Christmas tale, Animals, Nativity, Rhyming, Religious, Holiday
Opening: “The gentle beasts of sky and earth / prepare their stable for Christ’s birth.”
The Gifts of the Animals shares the miraculous offerings the humble animals in the manger gave to the baby Jesus.
The birds on the roof of the lowly shed / prepare a pillow for His head, / with feathers pulled from downy breats; / mice carry them to where He’ll rest.
Celebrating the Savior’s birth, this beautiful reimagining of the nativity story is a must-have addition to any family’s Christmas library and Christmas Eve traditions.
Why I like this book:
Carole Gerber’s The Gifts of the Animals is a beautiful and elegant tale! She creatively imagines how the animals lovingly prepare for the birth of baby Jesus. The ox fills the manger with straw. The sheep share bits of wool. The birds pull downy feathers from their breasts and the tiny mice carefully arrange the offerings in the bed, as they all wait with anticipation for the baby’s birth.
Gerber’s fluid and poetic narrative is both soothing and joyous as the angels announce the arrival to the shepherds. Her rhyming story is condensed from The Book of Luke. Yumi Shimokawara’s stunning watercolors are realistic, warm, joyful and celebratory. The gorgeous book cover is exquisite and heavenly. Children will delight in pouring over all of the details of this quiet and contemplative Christmas book. It is a perfect gift book that will surely become a family favorite.
Resource: Make sure you read the postscript of the story from the Book of Luke, Chapter 2, at the end of the story. Ask children what special gift that they might leave in the manger (a song, a poem etc.) Hand them paints, markers and crayons and encourage children them to draw their own scene and their unique offering.
Carole Gerber has written sixteen picture books, three chapter books, and more than one hundred elementary science and reading texts for major publishers. Her most recent picture book, A Band of Babies, was named a 2017 Best Book for Children by Amazon editors. She holds a BS in English education and an MA in journalism from Ohio State, and has taught middle school and high school English as well as college newswriting and factual writing at OSU. Learn more about Carole at her website.
*Review copy provided by the publisher.