Song of the Camels

Overview

Haunting and evocative, this is the story of the first Christmas told from the perspective of the wise men's camels as they follow the star across the desert to Bethlehem, bearing their noble masters with gifts for the Christ child.

A poem describes the journey of camels carrying the Wise Men to see the new-born baby Jesus.

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Vojtech, Anna New York, NY 1997 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

Haunting and evocative, this is the story of the first Christmas told from the perspective of the wise men's camels as they follow the star across the desert to Bethlehem, bearing their noble masters with gifts for the Christ child.

A poem describes the journey of camels carrying the Wise Men to see the new-born baby Jesus.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The sun is setting and night is fast approaching. The camels are marching across the sands and then they meet up with their brethren. Three camels are carrying the wise men who follow a bright star in search of the Christ child. As masters on bended knee present their gifts, the kneeling camels observe the joyous event and then with their riders head back into the desert. The poem is lovely and seeing the Nativity through the eyes of the camels is indeed a different perspective. The muted paintings filled with shadow and soft light are a delight in this tall book. It is a different take on a familiar story. One quibble, what happened to the slaves who were escorting their masters, since they are no longer evident in the final scenes.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 UpCoatsworth's sophisticated poem tells the familiar story of the three kings from the camels' point of view. Luminous oil paintings on canvas with effective uses of light build on the drama, from page to page and scene to scene, as these beasts are shown from differing dramatic perspectives. One double-page spread uses light splashes of yellow, white, green, and touches of brown to create the look and texture of sand that the animals kick up (their legs a veritable forest of blue-and-black toned muscle and bone) as they walk through the desert. On another, three proud heads stretch up into the starry night sky that is their backdrop. The panoramas of the desert capture a land of blue/gray mountains and an endless sky that carries the single bright star toward which they walk. The continuing contrast between the inky blue, star-filled sky and the blinding yellow light of the desert sand gives this book its own, unspoken, rhythm. On the final page, these recurring elements of darkness and light, blue and yellow, fade together as the camels' disappearing forms cast long shadows in the sand as Coatsworth ends her story: "Portents of glory and danger/Our dark shadows lay/At the feet of the babe in the manger/And then drifted away." A haunting and visually arresting book.
Kirkus Reviews
The point of view of Coatsworth's 1935 poem—narrated by the wise men's camels—is still a fresh one.

The spare text contains enough concrete details to bring the desert world to life. As the wise men arrive at the manger, "The olives were windy and white,/Dust swirled through the town,/As all in their royal robes/Our masters knelt down." Tall, narrow pages lend themselves well to distant vistas with the star shimmering far ahead in the east; Vojtech's duskily glowing oil paintings capture all the sweep of sand and sky. Sometimes the picture moves in close—a camel's legs are all knobby knees and splayed feet—filling the entire spread. On the very next page the perspective pulls back to an almost aerial view, with the camels a tiny presence in the wide expanse of desert. A lovely and original holiday entry.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558588110
  • Publisher: North-South Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.38 (w) x 13.52 (h) x 0.33 (d)

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