This is a sweet, beautiful book. It's a large picture book and each page is as beautiful as the cover. Pictures take up the whole page with the text embedded in the picture.
I used to teach first grade and we would read lots of different versions of the same story or theme. I still do this today for my own son, who turned 5 right after Christmas. Last year we did the 12 days of Christmas. (He was into counting.) This year, we did the nativity story. This was my favorite version we read.
Animals come to the stable one after another and the kind ox invites each one to come in to share his shelter. Children love this kind of repetition, they feel both empowered by knowing what is going to happen next (another animal will come to the door) and curious (what animal will it be this time?) One theme of the book is that of animals that are usually predator and prey are calling a truce for their mutual benefit of a warm, safe place. That theme will be lost on young children - to them, of course all the animals would stay together to be warm! A theme that does come through loud and clear is kindness and sharing. The ox has a warm place to sleep and invites others to share it with him rather than just keep it to himself.
Finally, donkey comes to the door. Donkey is carrying Mary. Ox invites Donkey and his family in and Mary has baby Jesus during the night. It's a different point of view on Mary and Joseph. Rather than being on the outside with Mary and Joseph wondering where they will stay, we are on the inside safe and warm with Ox, and we see Mary and Joseph on the outside. I think this helps young children understand the predicament Mary and Joseph were in at a very basic level - They needed a warm place to stay and have their baby. Children don't understand taxes, let alone journeying to pay them. Nor do they really understand the concept of an inn or hotel and no one having any openings - it's outside their sphere of understanding. But children understand needing to be safe and warm.
A beautiful book with a beautiful story and message.
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Margaret K McElderry; 1 edition (5 October 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0689868413
- ISBN-13: 978-0689868412
- Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 0.8 x 27.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 476 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)