Cover image for The stable rat, and other Christmas poems
The stable rat, and other Christmas poems
Cunningham, Julia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
23 pages : color illustrations ; 32 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.0 0.5 54087.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3553.U477 S72 2001 Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PS3553.U477 S72 2001 Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
PS3553.U477 S72 2001 Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday

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What a gathering it was! There were the quiet ox, the clucking hen, a cow, six sheep, a horse, and other animals. But no one looked at the stable rat--except the baby, who not only looked but loved. In these startlingly powerful poems, Julia Cunningham captures the mystery and magic of the Nativity for readers of every age. And Anita Lobel's magnificent paintings and brilliant iconography give each poem a setting that is at once personal and universal.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6, younger for read aloud. The author of the acclaimed Dorp Dead (1965) and The Treasure Is the Rose (1974) has composed a beautiful suite of poems telling the Christmas story. The language is muscular, precise, powerful; the poems are rhymed or not. The voices are those of the animals or observers. "Why did three shepherds usher in six sheep / to form a wall of warmth across the door? / How did they know that child so deep asleep . . . / would wake a world?" Or in "A Child's Song for a Child": "Be my flower / Be my star. / Lend me a breath / Of what you are. / Partaking of the rose / I might / Candle myself / A little light." From the stable rat's epiphany to the animals' hymn to joy, Cunningham rings changes like handbells, making a familiar story glisteningly new. Lobel's paintings are full of color and rhythm: sheep, oxen, camels as well as angels, shepherds, and wise men are patterned in bold swathes. Stars, flowers, drapery, all form sinuous lines and tapestry motifs. A glorious addition to the Christmas canon.--GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2 Up-Engaging verses describe the Nativity from the animals' point of view. In "A Sheep Speaks," readers learn about the reactions of the sheep in the fields to the passage of the Wise Men; "Hymn to Joy" encourages the various creatures to add their voices to the celebration. Cunningham's poetry is sometimes humorous, often powerful, always vivid, and filled with feeling. Lobel's distinctive watercolor and black-pen artwork is the perfect complement. Her animals are totally involved in all that is happening, resonating awe and joy. Many of the interconnected poems would lend themselves nicely to performance or recitation in a holiday program, making this a potentially useful selection for teachers.-M. A. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.