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Monday, December 10, 2012

One Starry Night, written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Jonathan Bean. Margaret K, McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster. 2011. $18.99 ages 1 and up

"One starry night

a sheep watched
over her lamb

I am here

a cow watched
over her calf

always near"

Mother animals watch over their young ones as the stars twinkle from a dark and moonlit sky. There is such peace and love emanating from the pages, and a warm glow to the images created in both words and art. As those who share this quiet little book reverently turn its pages, they will feel awash in the gentle loving scenes and bask in the feelings of security and warmth.

Ultimately, we reach the stable where Mary and Joseph wrap their beloved child in that same warmth and love shared by the creatures we have met to this point. It is lovely as the animals gather round to help celebrate the baby's birth and the great joy felt by his adoring parents.

The author tells readers:

"The wild animals featured in this book could all be found in the Holy Land at the time of the traditional nativity story. They are the untamed cousins of the domesticated animals named in the text."

The theme is love and the mood is quiet celebration. Lauren Thompson makes gentle magic with her words, while Jonathan Bean uses muted, earthy colors shining with moon and star light to evoke the lovely atmospheric feeling created by the repetitive and rhythmic words. Ah, sleep, little baby!

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