cover image THE STABLE RAT: And Other Christmas Poems

THE STABLE RAT: And Other Christmas Poems

Julia Cunningham, , illus. by Anita Lobel. HarperCollins/ . Greenwillow, $15.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-17799-7

In this attractive volume, all lowly creatures become respected equals, transformed by the joyous arrival of the Christ child. Art and design merit a look, along with Cunningham's (Drop Dead!) evocative free-verse poems. The language is sophisticated and stirring ("I am a shadow, gray, gray, gray," begins the eponymous poem), and each work nestles cozily within the rustic textures of Lobel's (On Market Street) dark-hued ink-and-watercolor compositions. Gently smiling animals, angels and shepherds behold the miracle in their midst. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)