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Lullaby for the King by Nikki Grimes & Michelle Carlos

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Lullaby for the King is a sumptuous, richly illustrated, lyrical picture book that follows a variety of birds and animals, some more familiar than others, as they travel to Bethlehem with gifts for a newborn king.


The Story: Animals create a caravan as they travel across land and air to bring gifts for the Christ Child. After a long journey they arrive at the stable in Bethlehem where Mary, Joseph and Jesus are staying. They bow to the newborn king and join the angels in singing a lullaby.

The animals are introduced in (almost) alphabetical order starting with Antelope who brings a myrrh filled alabaster flask. The gifts range from exotic – Jackal’s frankincense, Raven’s ruby ring and Asiatic Lion’s bronze bowl – to natural – wildflowers from Stork, a pomegranate from Peacock and olive oil from Hippo. Several animals bring musical instruments – Camel carries a zither, Tortoise brings a tambourine and Goat brings a harp while Nightingale brings the gift of a song.

Watched by angels it is Nightingale who gives the first gift. The baby gurgles as she sings and the other animals pick up their instruments. The books ends with the angels singing a short song, the musical score is also included;

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.

The story is accompanied by gorgeous watercolour illustrations which show vibrant coloured animals carrying generous gifts, in contrast the angels in the stable are ghostly white. We love Stork’s gift of brightly coloured wildflowers and the penultimate spread showing the animals watching the baby is breathtakingly beautiful.


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Lullaby for the King - bird  - Story Snug


Lullaby for the King is a picture book that will appeal to readers who appreciate rich and challenging vocabulary. We love the use of alliteration in the lyrical, sometimes rhyming text and this gentle, seasonal story is perfect for bedtime.

Age Range: 6 +

Author: Nikki Grimes / Illustrator: Michelle Carlos

Thank you Beaming Books for sending a review copy of this beautiful book.

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