This is the Stable
by Cynthia Cotten. Illustrated by Delana
Bettoli. Henry Holt, 2006 (0-8050-7556-9) $16.95
"These are the angels, a glorious throng,
who sang to the shepherds a wonderful song:
'Be not afraid--go to Bethlehem town,
to the quiet stable, dusty and brown.'
These are the wise men, travelers three,
who knew of an ancient prophecy.
They followed the star whose light shone down
on the quiet stable, dusty and brown"
A mellow, lyrical rhyming text that captures the ear with gentle repetitions makes this an excellent nativity for a young child. The story begins and ends with the quiet stable, where the baby boy, "who cooed and cried and looked around with eyes so wide" is tended by cooing doves, the three wise men (meticulously drawn as African, Asian and Middle-Eastern,) and his adoring parents. Watercolor and acrylic paintings use warm and bright colors to bring vivid beauty to simple scenes of shepherds watching their sheep and the mother tenderly holding her child. A lovely book. (2-5)