A sensitive retelling by Laird (The Miracle Child, 1985) of an Ethiopian nativity originally written by a fourth-century bishop of Cyprus. Illustrated with Ethiopian paintings from 18th-century illuminated manuscripts, Laird's adaptation reveals cultural nuances of one of the oldest Christian civilizations. While Close to the traditional story, it also contains pieces of folk tales and legends about the life of Mary and the birth of Jesus found outside the New Testament, creating a combination of folk and Bible stories that is highly effective and eminently readable. Evocative paintings, rich in red and gold, on pages with large white borders, accompany the coherent, rhythmic text. Each striking painting is captioned by explanatory notes regarding its style and content. As a holiday story, a Bible story, or a comparative folk story, this well-designed volume is a valuable purchase for any collection--and far above the usual holiday fare.