cover image For Every Child a Star: A Christmas Story

For Every Child a Star: A Christmas Story

Tomie dePaola, Thomas Yeomans. Holiday House, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0526-8

An old man whose wife is long dead is loved by the other villagers, who bring him food and clothing. In return, he learns the ""ways of healing.'' One night he is awakened by shepherds. He goes to yell at them, but sees a sky full of stars and is comforted by their beauty. Then the wise men pass by, and he is filled with wonder. When he answers a knock at the door, he finds a stranger, who calls himself a singer and needs to repair his sandal. Then a child comes to the old man's door, summoning him to the bed of a woman in labor. He delivers the child, and he and the singer, admiring all the stars but noting that one star shines more brightly than the others, sing together. DePaola's beautiful paintings look like elegant stained glass. But this tale, which intends, perhaps, to universalize Christ's birth, may be puzzling and ambiguous to readers. The poet's voice is a bit lofty for such a simple tale. (5-8)