cover image The Most Precious Gift

The Most Precious Gift

Marty Crisp, , illus. by Floyd Cooper. . Philomel, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24296-0

Dog is known as Man's best friend, but Crisp (My Dog, Cat ) speculates that a dog became Jesus' best friend as well. Her curiosity piqued by the appearance of a white canine in various 14th- to 16th-century paintings of the Nativity, the author has crafted a dramatic tale about a lowly kennel boy's beloved white dog, the only possession Ameer has and the only one he deems worthy of giving to the newborn Christ child. Cooper's signature oil-wash paintings look as luminous as ever, depicting soft portraits of a multiracial cast, and the blues and golds of a nighttime desert awash in starglow. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)