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THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT by Marty Crisp Kirkus Star


A Story of the Nativity

by Marty Crisp & illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-24296-1
Publisher: Philomel

Cooper’s distinctive oil-wash paintings add depth and personality to a worthy entry in the long list of tales about bringing gifts to the Christ Child. This smoothly told story focuses on Ameer, a kennel boy (and most probably a slave) for one of the Magi who are following the star to Bethlehem to see the “Baby King.” Ameer owns a white dog named Ra who is the boy’s loyal best friend and only possession of value. As the caravan of the Three Kings approaches Bethlehem, Ameer worries about what gift he might offer, as everyone is taking gifts of some sort to the baby. When he finally meets the Holy Family in the stable, Ameer leaves his beloved dog behind to watch over the Christ Child and his parents. The well-written text is full of rich language and dramatic moments, concluding with the Ra prancing along at the head of the procession on the flight into safety in Egypt. An author’s note gives details of a white dog often seen in Renaissance paintings of the Nativity. (Picture book. 5-9)