The Birds of Bethlehem

Tomie dePaola, Author, Tomie dePaola, Illustrator
Tomie dePaola. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25780-3
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No stranger to holiday stories, dePaola (Strega Nona’s Gift; The Night Before Christmas) offers a bird’s-eye view of the Nativity. Pairs of excited, colorful birds share the strange occurrences they’ve noticed (“We were roosting in a tree on the hill.... We saw an extraordinary thing,” says the red bird and his mate). The art is classic dePaola: the simple shapes of the birds, rolling hills, and stable are delineated by soft lines painted in opaque acrylics of vivid teal and orange-red, and muted by a soft patina. The effect is as pleasing as the whimsical storytelling, as dePaola offers a refreshingly indirect take on how the news of Jesus’s birth spread to all creatures. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
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