This book is based on an old English carol, the sheet music for which can be found at the back of the book:
It is one of the very few of my loft treasures where I can say that I don’t actually remember the story (or in this case, lyrics) at all. I vividly remember the illustrations (and indeed the illustrative style, as I came across a few other Tomie dePaola books as well) but I had clearly enjoyed this as a book of pictures alone. However, given that I probably had a pretty good idea of the general Nativity plot structure and given that the pictures are truly gorgeous, I’m not giving myself too much of a retrospective hard time for not actually ‘reading’ this one.
Having said that, C and H love the text in this story, which revisits the Christmas tale from the perspective of the animals involved in the proceedings. As I mentioned in an earlier post, C is a shepherd in his pre-school Nativity, so the sheep page gets extra attention. However, this spread of Mary and Joseph journeying to Bethlehem is his favourite (I think he *may* have a line or two in the play that link to this part of the story, but he’s being very cagey about it so we’re respecting his artistic integrity and not forcing the issue):
H’s favourite is this one with the donkey, which he is pretty adamant is actually a horse, and he merrily makes all sorts of horsey noises and gallops around whenever we get to this point:
My favourite part of the book is the fact that it highlights the close and mutually supportive relationship between story and song – something that I hope will form an important part of my Story Seekers sessions.