cover image Manger


Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illus. by Helen Cann. Eerdmans, $16 (34p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5419-3

This joyful collection of new and previously printed poems features creatures great and small heralding the arrival of Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve during the one hour, as legend has it, that God granted them the gift of human speech. Each of the brief entries—from Alma Flor Ada, Marilyn Nelson, Alice Schertle, and others—appears on its own spread, nestled alongside one of Cann’s (Brigid’s Cloak) watercolor and mixed-media paintings, whose detailed feathers, scales, and shaggy fur lend a realistic air. On the whole, the verses convey a sense of wonder, awe, and humility. “I tiptoe near;/ gaze down to see/ a babe—/ whose sweet arms/ welcome me,” says Jude Mandell’s “Curious Cat,” while Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s “Sheep Whisper” reads, “I’ve never seen a baby/ or so much golden light.” Ages 4–8. (Sept.)