Certain Poor Shepherds: A Christmas Tale by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Andrew Davidson
"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 story tellers 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- that is, 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.
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is the best-selling author of The Hidden Life of Dogs and several other successful works about anthropology and animal behavior. Her book on cat behavior, The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture, was an international bestseller. She lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
Jonathan Bartlett earned his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. His work has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Atlantic, among many other venues. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Certain Poor Shepherds: A Christmas Tale 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
I received this book from a friend for Christmas 1996. Found it in my library recently and re-read this charming and poetic look at the time of the Nativity through the eyes, ears and hearts of two creatures through whose voice we get a new perspective on this Holy Season. it is not for anyone who has a narrow view of the Creation, the role of animals in it or a strict adherence to only biblical text on this subject. If you, in your heart, have a love of animals and the spirit of adventure you will find this small treasure a gift to enjoy and share at every Christmas. It could be read by or read allow to children of any age. The prose is lyrical and the images crisp and either harsh or delicate as the scene dictates. I highly recommend this brief narrative and the other works of this author. A nice contribution to the family library and a great holiday gift for friends and family. Thankful to my friend Rod, who loved this tale enough to share and knew how it would delight my senses.. .