This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten tells the miracle of Jesus' birth in the rhythm of This is the House that Jack Built, making it catchy for children to remember the details. Artist Delana Bettoli "used sepia ink outline, watercolor underpainting, gouache, and acrylic paint to create" her illustrations.
This is such a departure from the nativities we've seen in the past. Finally, Bettoli presents us with a Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and shepherds that look like they're from Israel. And how about these wise men who could actually be from the Eastern Hemisphere.
As you can see, Bettoli's brilliant artwork makes this book stand out from other nativity editions. I have to catch my breath each time I come to this page. Isn't the rich color she gives to the angels just spectacular? Bettoli's interpretation of the brilliancy of light and color of the angels encompassing the sky lends us understanding as to why the shepherds were fearful.
But what I love about this book most of all are dove-like wings enveloping the sky and stable, which for me signifies God's presence. In fact, look for the dove throughout the story -- a Biblical symbol of God's Spirit.