As in his other religious picture books, de Paola's treatment of this old English carol reduces people and animals to sugar-candy dimension, yet sacrifices human and creaturely charm for a distancing holy-card piety. First, choir boys (?) bearing candles parody stylized poses as the opening words tell how ""Jesus our brother, strong and good/ Was humbly born in a stable rude."" Then each beast--donkey, cow, sheep, and dove--takes the stage to tell of its gift to the child, while alternating wordless double pages show human visitors paying their respects. In all of these posed, pastel tableaux, the animals and worshipping visitors have at best a nursery-decoration cuteness, while the Holy Family seems merely lugubrious.