Monday, December 21, 2009

Review #53: This is the Stable

Lily (age 6):  This book is called "This is the Stable."  It's about Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus.  We are reading it because it's almost Christmas, so that is special.
Dad:  I love the pictures in this book.
Lily:  You do?
Dad:  That's why I wanted to do this one.
Lily:  It is?
Dad:  Yep.
Lily:  Or maybe you wanted to do it because it's Christmas.
Dad:  Well, both.  Out of all our Christmas books, this year I wanted to highlight this one.
Lily:  Okay.
Dad:  Cynthia Cotten wrote it.  And it is illustrated by Delana Bettoli.
Gracie (age 9):  I have a rhyme...  Delana Bettoli eats ravioli.
Lily:  Does she really eat ravioli?
Isaac (age 11):  Everyone eats ravioli.
Dad:  What did you think about the writing?
Lily:  It always rhymes things.
Isaac:  I bet this could be a song.  I really think this could be a song.  I bet it was a song.
Lily:  This is kind of like a Bible story.  But the author made up her own words.
Gracie:  It tells a good story and makes it fun to read.  Some people think reading the Bible is boring.
Dad:  Like who.
Gracie:  I don't know.  Katie just said she knows some people.  My friend Katie knows a lot of people.
Isaac:  Each part of the story starts out like, "This is the stable," "These are the shepherds," or "These are the wise men."  Then after every few pages it ends with "in the stable dusty and brown."
Lily:  They always say "...the stable dusty and brown," "...the stable dusty and brown."
Dad:  That's called "repetition."
Gracie:  The pictures are so pretty.
Dad:  For a book that keeps saying "dusty and brown" over and over again, did the pictures look dusty and brown?
Lily:  NO!  They are colorful and happy.
Gracie:  They are the opposite of dusty and brown.
Dad:  So there's some contrast going on.
Lily:  This is colorful.  This book is a rainbow.
Gracie:  Colorful and detailed.
Isaac:  It's really cool how the illustrator dabs color.  Like, the ground is a dark color, and then there are all these little splotches on top of it.  Every picture looks like it has layers.
Gracie:  In almost every single last picture there are angel wings.
Isaac:  Every page has hidden wings.
Gracie:  Where are the wings on this page?  Oh, I see the wings.
Lily:  There's the wings.  There's the wings again.
Gracie:  It also has cool borders on every page.  Such neat borders.
Isaac:  On this page, the border around the picture is all these twigs entwined together.  And then at the bottom there are flowers.
Gracie:  There are lots of details.  The illustrator must really like patterns.  Because there are so many patterns.  Every single thing has at least one type of pattern.
Dad:  The borders, the clothing... everything is very decorated.
Gracie:  My favorite picture has four angels, and they've all got such colorful clothes.  The dresses have such pretty patterns.  One has snowflakes and flowers, one has... actually all of them have flowers.
Dad:  Usually when you see pictures of angels they are just dressed in white.
Lily:  This is colorful!
Dad:  These are the most colorful angels I've ever seen.
Gracie:  This Christmas book is better than all the rest because it's prettier.
Dad:  Well, do you guys have any Christmas greetings for our readers?
Isaac:  Merry Christmas everybody!
Lily:  Have a good Christmas - ho ho ho.
Gracie:  Merry Christmas from Bookie Woogie!
Lily:  Ho ho ho!
Isaac:  We should ask what people's favorite Christmas story is.
Gracie:  If you tell us your favorite Christmas story, you could win...  um...
Dad:  Maybe they could win your drawings?
Isaac:  Yeah!  I'll give mine away.
Gracie:  I'll do it.  Contest!
Dad:  Really?  Do you want to?  I've given away books before...  Do you want to give away your pictures this week?
Gracie:  Yes!
Dad:  So what are the rules?
Gracie:  Leave us a comment and tell us your favorite Christmas book.  You can win our actual drawings.  Not just copies.  The actual drawings.
Dad:  So one person wins all three, or what?
Gracie:  First prize gets the best picture we drew, second place gets the second best...
Dad:  HA!  Well, who decides which one is best?
Gracie:  You!
Dad:  I can't do that.  How about this...  how about we give the winner their choice.
Gracie:  First place gets to pick first.  Second place gets to pick second.  And last place gets the left over.
Dad:  Hah - the "left over"?
Lily:  But Daddy!  What if they pick mine for last!?
Dad:  I'm sure all your pictures will be wonderful!  And maybe they'll pick yours first...
Lily:  But what if no one likes mine?
Dad:  Okay, we won't do that.  We always want this to be fun.  Maybe we'll assign the pictures randomly.  We don't want anyone to feel bad.
Lily:  Mm-hm.
Gracie:  Now let's go do our drawing party!  We can use the brightest colors we've got!
Dad:  Great!  And give us your rules one more time...
Gracie:  Leave a comment and tell us your favorite Christmas book.
Dad:  At the end of the week, we'll randomly pick three winners to receive orginal Z-kids art!  The pictures are below, and we'll match them to the winners randomly as well.  Good luck!  Spread the word!

wise man, by Isaac
baby Jesus, by Lily

angels, by Gracie
Author: Cynthia Cotten
Illustrator: Delana Bettoli
Published, 2006: Henry Holt
Like it? Find it


ElizT said...

Sounds like a good book.
My favourites are those by Raymond Briggs.
And your pictures are classy.
Have a wonderful Christmas!

Majeki said...

I have two favorite Christmas books. "The Sweet Smell of Christmas" is a scratch-and sniff, by Patricia Scarry that I've enjoyed my whole life. My other favorite is "The Gift of the Magi".


Hull.Margaret said...

I don't really have a favorite Christmas Book, but a book made into a play/dvd Dickens Christmas Carol is my favorite story. I hope this counts because I really really like your blog AND especially enjoy and like your drawings.
Merry Christmas

Brimful Curiosities said...

I never realized the illustrations included hidden angel wings. Thanks for mentioning that. Love your colorful Christmas drawings.

My daughter's favorite Christmas book right now is "Snowmen at Christmas" by Caralyn Buehner. She likes locating the hidden images.

Boysnberries' Brambles said...

we love your artwork!!!

Allison Dominguez said...

My favorite Christmas book is the Bible. So many great stories and wonderful imagery!

Rebecca Gomez said...

Wow. You've got some great artists in your family, Z!

I came across This is the Stable recently at the bookstore and had to buy it. I love the pictures, and the wings are a cool touch. Beautiful book! I hadn't bought a Christmas PB in a long time.

Kelly H-Y said...

How have I missed this book! Thanks for the review and the gorgeous pics!

Heather Zundel said...

A chance to win one of your original drawings? What an honor. While it is hard to beat the original, a favorite Christmas picture book of mine is Father and Son: A Nativity Story by Geraldine Mccaughrean and Fabian Negrin. It tells the story from Joseph's perspective, which I love. If you haven't read it, I recommend it.

MotherReader said...

I am so glad that you choose to feature this lovely book. I just noticed it in my living room and was kicking myself because I forgot to write about it. I find that my favorite Christmas book changes a lot, so I'll say a classic - Santa Mouse - and a newer, quirky one - The Lump of Coal.

BTW, you all did really wonderful drawings.

Z-Kids said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! And thanks for the recommendations -- there are a few new books we need to hunt down...

We placed everyone's names into Lily's duckie hat, and the kids drew out some winners:

Lily went first and pulled out "Kimberly" - congrats!

Then Gracie went and got "Heather Zundel" - congrats to you as well!

Isaac drew the last name and it was "Penny"!

Congratulations, you three! (Sorry everyone couldn't win... We'll have to do this again soon!)

Thanks for your encouragement! Hope your Christmas was a good one. Have a happy new year,

- Dad, Isaac, Grace, and Lily