For our 23rd book, let’s look at a quaint little Golden Book from 1977, The Animals’ Christmas Eve.

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This sweet book is a sort of counting story, retelling the story of the first Christmas Eve from the perspective of all the barnyard animals.

Beginning with one small hen gathering her chicks near to listen to the tale, the pages share about animals like the 3 camels of the wise men, 6 cows nibbling hay like where baby Jesus lay, 8 kittens softly purring about the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, and more all the way up to the 12 chimes ringing out the lovely bells of Christmas Day.

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Told in rhyme, this story flows tenderly and creatively combines the beloved barnyard animals and special Nativity story. What child doesn’t love animals? And counting them is even more fun! This book would be a delightful way to help remember the story as you list off the number of animals and what they tell.

The author, Gale Wiersum, does not have much information to be easily found, but at least has 2 books to her name including this one and the Little Golden Book Christmas Favorites. Her style is lovely, with flowing rhymes and very picturesque descriptions.

And I’m actually not sure who the illustrator, Jim Robison, really is. All searching seems to be confusing him with another famous illustrator named James Robison. Nonetheless, his style in this Golden Book is wonderfully soft and earthy. I love the vivid colors of the Nativity traveling scenes combined with the earth-tone browns of the barnyard. The 8 kittens and 11 puppies look so snuggly!

This is another great Golden Book classic to be especially enjoyed in this season. So join the animals as “every beast bows low its head, for one small babe in a manger bed.”

Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books.