The indefatigable Bunting (Gleam and Glow
, above, etc.) looks "beyond the light / to darkness / and the corner" where shadows hide spider, scorpion, bat, rat, cockroach, and snake, all of whom have come to join the cattle and other livestock gathered around baby Jesus. Though snake's reference to "the curving snake of sand that follows me" is obscure, in general the spare, rhythmic text makes its point ("I am there"), while effectively capturing a sense of the starlit night's significance. Minor's (Cat, What Is That?
, p. 941) art looks less finished than usual, however, which would be more acceptable were it consistent—but in jolting contrast to the close-ups of spider and rat, in which every bristle and hair is carefully limned, the pictures of lamb, cow, and donkey, as well as some of the wider landscapes, look like they were painted with a spray gun. An uneven execution, but an eye-opening, consciousness-raising addition to the plethora of "animals at the manger" tales nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >