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THE DONKEY’S CHRISTMAS SONG by Nancy Tafuri Kirkus Star


by Nancy Tafuri & illustrated by Nancy Tafuri

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-439-27313-7
Publisher: Scholastic

Tafuri (Mama’s Little Bears, 2002, etc.) once again shows her talent for creating memorable works for younger children with this warm and tender story on the offerings-for-baby-Jesus theme. The friendly animals in the stable take turns welcoming the baby in their midst with their own animal songs (with animal noises that will invite participation from young listeners). The shy donkey holds back until the baby smiles at him, and then the donkey’s loud braying makes baby Jesus laugh. In a cozy, calm conclusion, the donkey curls up next to the manger to help keep the baby warm, with the other animals also bedded down nearby, and the story ends as it began, “ . . . under that bright star, a long, long, time ago.” The simple story and patterned text will serve well as an introduction to the Nativity story for younger preschoolers, and the large format and uncomplicated page design help to make this an excellent choice for reading aloud to a group. Sharp-eyed children will note that a pair of doves has an offering for the baby in addition to their cooing—a tiny olive branch that baby Jesus holds in his little fist. The motif of the dove in flight with the olive branch is also shown on the back cover and on the dedication page and referenced in the volume’s dedication, “ . . . to all a song of peace.” (Picture book. 2-5)