Certain Poor Shepherds: A Christmas Tale

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"On the first Christmas, so say the Christians, a redeemer was born to save our kind from the consequences of our greed, waste, pride, cruelty, and arrogance. No redeemer appeared for the animals; however, none was needed. The animals were much the same then as they are now, just as God made them, perfect according to his plan..." So begins this resonant tale by one of our most gifted storytellers and most perceptive animal watchers, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. When an unusual star appears on the horizon one clear winter night, among those drawn ...
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1996-11-11 Hardcover New New Item. Item delivered via UPS in 7-9 business days. Tracking available by request Ships from US. Please allow 1-3 weeks for delivery outside US.

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1st Edition, Fine/Fine Clean, bright & tight. No ink names, tears, chips, foxing etc. Price unclipped. SIGNED by AUTHOR on blank page after front endpaper(NOT on a bookplate). ... Petersborought New Hampshire author. ISBN 0684833131 Read more Show Less

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Overview

"On the first Christmas, so say the Christians, a redeemer was born to save our kind from the consequences of our greed, waste, pride, cruelty, and arrogance. No redeemer appeared for the animals; however, none was needed. The animals were much the same then as they are now, just as God made them, perfect according to his plan..." So begins this resonant tale by one of our most gifted storytellers and most perceptive animal watchers, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. When an unusual star appears on the horizon one clear winter night, among those drawn to its bright promise are two shepherds - a dog named Lila and Ima, a goat. Therein lies an adventure, and Thomas's departure from the familiar story treasured by generations. With their flock, the animals journey to Bethlehem and home again, witnesses to a redemption of which they have no need. Yet as they make their way, encountering danger and opportunity, their journey becomes an extraordinary meditation, moving but unsentimental, on the nature of freedom and the state of natural grace in a world ruled by the power - and frailty - of humankind.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Marshall applies her knowledge of the animal world (The Secret Life of Dogs) and her fictional skills (Reindeer Moon) to a rich reimagining of the Nativity story. Her pilgrims are a wise goat named Ima and a huge warrior sheepdog , Lila. They are on the mountain guarding a herd of sheep when the star appears, and they immediately sense divinity in the air. Later, they see a flock of angels invisible to their master. Struck by inspiration, they follow the star to Bethlehem, where Lila witnesses the scene at the manger. Many other animals appear in the narrativecamels, a cheetah, other dogs, a gazellegiving Marshall an opportunity to represent natural creatures interacting and cherishing their freedom, which to animals is a form of grace. After Ima and Lila experience several dangerous adventures, an uplifting ending, in which they are rewarded by an angel whom Ima had saved from an eagle, probably will elicit some happy tears. The deliberately simple but well-honed prose makes this story suitable for family reading, and Marshall's attribution of human thoughts and emotions to her animal characters should delight sentimentalists. But the epilogue, in which Marshall muses that "perhaps our hope of redemption lies in the fact that we are animals, not that we are people,'' will not make this book a favorite of fundamentalist Christians. Simultaneous audio. (Nov.)
Library Journal
"On the first Christmas, so say the Christians, a redeemer was born to save our kind from the consequences of our greed, waste, pride, cruelty, and arrogance. No redeemer appeared for the animals; however, none was needed." So begins Thomas's thoughtful, deeply affecting retelling of the Christmas story from the animals' point of viewan approach that seems so natural, so delightful, one wonders why it hasn't been done before. Here, the "certain poor shepherds" are a dog and a goat who follow a bright, burning star to Bethlehem, encountering angels and human folly along the way. The animals behave with the utmost probityIma the goat helps cure an angel who has fallen sick from eating poisoned berries, for instance, and Lila the dog rescues Ima from the butcher's knife. They return home transfigurednot from their meeting with the baby Jesus, who seems frail and desperately in need of protection, but from within. Every once in a while, a clichd phrase will drop with a clunk, but this is ultimately a touching, simple, and challenging parable about our relation to the natural world from the author of the best-selling The Hidden Life of Dogs. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/96.]Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684833132
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 11/11/1996
  • Series: Inspirational Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 7.31 (h) x 0.66 (d)

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