The Gifts of the Animals: A Christmas Tale by Carole Gerber

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.”

Book Synopsis:

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.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by the publisher.

Star Bright

Star Bright9781416958581_p0_v2_s260x420Star Bright: A Christmas Story

Alison McGhee, Author

Peter H. Reynolds, Illustrator

Atheneum Book for Young Readers, Fiction, Sep. 30, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Nativity: Nativity, Baby Jesus, Angels, Gifts, Christmas

Opening: “It was the end of December, and a baby was soon to be born. A baby! In the heavens, angels turned light with joy. On Earth, travelers prepared gifts.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: A baby is soon to be born, and the heavens are all abuzz. Yet one small angel peers down fretfully…What gift can she give this most important baby when the winds, the birds, and even the Magi are already bringing such wondrous treasures? With a heart so big, in a night so dark, she takes a big leap — and gives the most shining gift of all.

Why I like this book: Alison McGhee has written a kid-friendly story about a traditional story that will delight young readers. Written in very simple language, she truly captures the joy and spirit of Christmas and its meaning. This is a book that you can read to children or encourage them to read on their own because of the sparse text. Peter H. Reynolds has given this book a more contemporary look with his signature illustrations. The little angel is dressed in flight gear and goggles, checks out her computer to watch what gifts are being given to the new child.  The artwork is lively, whimsical, joyful, and compliments the story.  This book is a treasure and children will read it again and again

Alison McGhee is the New York Times bestselling author of Someday, Little Boy,  Bye-Bye Crib, Always, and A Very Brave Witch. Her other children’s books include All Rivers Flow to  the Sea, Countdown to Kindergarten, Snap and the Julia Gillian series.  Visit McGhee’s website.

Peter H. Reynolds has written and illustrated The Smallest Gift of Christmas, The Dot, Ish, North Star, Sky Color, and I’m Here, as well as collaborated on the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald, and books with Judy Blume and Alison McGhee. Visit Reynolds’ website.