Monday, 22 October 2012

ROOM FOR A LITTLE ONE, by Martin Waddell, reviewed by Saviour Pirotta

Christmas is just two months away. Time to start looking for good Christmas books to give as presents or to use for reading time in school!  May I recommend Martin Waddell's overlooked gem ROOM FOR A LITTLE ONE.

Martin Waddell is known the world over for award-winning picture books like Owl Babies, Can't You Sleep Little Bear and Farmer Duck.  This title, however, is not so well known in the UK, although it is a big hit in the United States where readers have taken it to their hearts.

It retells the nativity story from the point of view of the ox. In Christian folk culture, an ox warmed the newly-born Jesus with her breath.  Here she takes centre-stage! It's a bitterly cold night, and a succession of animals take refuge in the pile of warm straw laid out for the ox.  The last of these animals is a donkey, and she brings with her a mum about to give birth...

The language used is simple but poetic.  The phrase, 'There's always room for a little one here,' is repeated on every spread, inviting the listener to join in. I love how the animals, who would be enemies outside the barn, are here united by their common need for warmth and shelter.

Jason Cockcroft's artwork is classic in style.  The predominant colours on every spread are brown and blue, suggesting night, but there is always a spot of orange and yellow, a hint of warmth and cosiness.  All in all this is one of the best Christmas books out there, the perfect present for loved ones.



Pippa Goodhart said...

It looks, and sounds, wonderful, yet I've never heard of it! Thank you, Saviour, I shall hunt it out.

Saviour Pirotta said...

It really is great, Philippa. I believe it was reissued in 2006 with a different cover.

Penny Dolan said...

Lovely suggestion, Saviour!

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