Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Ashley Bryan
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Who built the stable where the Christ-child lay? This is a question which remains unanswered to this day. In this story, a child trained in carpentry carefully crafts his stable to shield his animals from the elements. He serves as their shepherd, leading them throughout the day and bringing them home safely to rest at night. One night, a new star appears, and the shepherd boy stumbles upon Mary and Joseph, rejected from the inns about to deliver her first born child. He kindly offers them a place in his stable, where the baby Jesus is born. As the boy gazes upon the child, he knows that “the babe would be a carpenter. He’d be a shepherd too.”
Who Built the Stable is a nativity poem written about the place the Savior came to earth – a humble stable. The poem is well-written with a singsongy lilt, accentuated by the use of rhyme. The illustrations are bright and vibrant, characteristic of the African style used by Ashley Bryan. All the characters in this story are darker skinned, portraying the familiar personas in a different light and perpetuating a sense of multiculturalism. This book does not portray the nativity completely with accurate details; however, it is still a wonderful tribute to the birth of Jesus Christ. This touching book with its colorful pictures could be a good addition to your celebration of Christmas.