cover image The Donkey’s Song: A Christmas Nativity Story

The Donkey’s Song: A Christmas Nativity Story

Jacki Kellum, illus. by Sydney Hanson. Doubleday, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-37505-1

The humble donkey that transported Mary to the Bethlehem stable describes the sights, smells, and sounds it experiences in this peaceful imagining of Jesus’s birth. Using short rhyming stanzas and reiterative phrasing (“A bit of a manger,/ a bit of snug hay,/ a bit of a soft, silent night”), debut author Kellum creates an understated tone matched by Hanson’s pastoral scenes, which are gently washed in light. Friendly-faced farm animals—including the large-headed donkey and a kind, sprightly mouse—fill most of the spreads, leading in closing pages to the donkey’s moving song: “I lifted my head/ above His hay bed...// ...and sang of this morning of grace.” A sweet and gentle introduction to the nativity story. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)