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Illustrator Michelle Carlos’s magnificent artwork combines with author and poet Nikki Grimes’s lilting, worshipful narrative to reimagine the day following Jesus’s birth. Young children are invited to witness “a caravan of creatures” as it makes its way to Bethlehem with gifts for the Christ Child. 

And what a caravan it was! Steadily striding Antelope carrying “a fragile flask of alabaster tied round her neck and filled with perfume of myrrh” led the way. Asiatic Lion dashed beside her with “a bowl of beaten bronze upon his muscled back, both vessel and mane shimmering golden.” Crimson-draped Camel carted a cedar chest with a zither inside. Jackal the Clever transported frankincense and a beautiful linen sash. On and on the procession went – Tortoise, “the Royal Prince of Slow, trudged up from Tiberias with a tambourine in tow;” Syrian Bear hoisted heavy stone water pots; Fallow Deer, dancing the whole way, carried “a shofar snug in the shovel of his antlers,” and many more animals joined the jubilant throng. 

After days of travel, the caravan arrived in Bethlehem and, while angels watched, the animals presented their gifts to the newborn King. The angels ended the evening with a new lullaby: “Rest, sweet child from on high, apple of your Father’s eye. We humbly honor you, O King. Please bless each gift we bring you.” 

Reverent, imaginative and joyful, Lullaby for the King is a children's book to be lingered over and savored again and again from one Christmas to the next. (Beaming Books)

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