Stephanie S. Tolan, , illus. by Margie Moore. . HarperCollins, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-001197-0

It may have been too crowded at the inn, but there's room for creatures great and very small at the manger in Tolan's (Surviving the Applewhites ) tender Nativity story. As animals hurry past him, Bartholomew the mouse wonders where the excitement is. Finally a kindly angel and a bushy-tailed fox encourage him to head for the stable. Humbled in the presence of the newborn Prince of Peace, Bartholomew regrets not having a wonderful present for him. However, he delivers an unexpected gift and in turn receives the babe's blessing. Readers can almost hear the gentle cooing of calm beasts in Moore's (Count the Ways, Little Brown Bear ) soft watercolors, as seen from a mouse's eye-view. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)