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The Friendly Beasts
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The Friendly Beasts

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  186 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
"The simple strains of this old Christmas melody are superbly reflected in the graceful, delicate, yet strong images that dePaola brings to the page....A Christmas remembrance to be long treasured." -- Booklist (starred review)"Beautiful." -- The Horn Book"Meticulous attention has been paid to every detail of design, color, and layout." -- School Library Journal
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 5th 1998 by Puffin Books (first published 1981)
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It is always charming and fun to find books that you can read leading up to Christmas or even on that very special day. Some of my most favorite are seeing how people translate some of the most beautiful songs into a story-type of work while keeping the original at heart.

Tomie dePaola is one author who just has a beautiful and simple heart that shines through his works. The artwork is gentle yet amazingly simplistic yet heartfelt at the same time. It allows you to go into an ethnically differe
Ashley Jacobson
4.5 stars- My only problem with this book is that it flows a little awkwardly. And it kind of just ends. But it’s so cute and the illustrations are amazing (of course)! It’s a rhyming book and each animal gets a stanza about their part in the Christmas story. Kids can catch on to the pattern “I said the *animal*....” and help read the story. This is a favorite book in our house, and it’s a tradition to read it every year.
Katie Fitzgerald
I like the clean look of the illustrations in this adaptation of a well-known Christmas carol. The pages alternate between wordless spreads and lyrics from the song accompanied by illustrations, which works nicely. I also appreciate that the music is included at the back of the boo, as I needed some help recalling the tune. This is a perfect read-aloud for toddlers and preschoolers, and a great addition to any collection of singable picture books.
Courtney Stevens
Story of the animals that give of their wool or songs to the Christ child. So sweet.
Adrianne Rosal
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The true meaning of Christmas!!!!!
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
December 2016 - really lovely, I always like dePaola's mix of folksy and reverent.
Samantha Meyer
The Friendly Beasts is the simple traditional English Christmas Carol about the first Christmas beautifully illustrated by Tomie dePaola. The carol depicts all the animals and their roles in helping Jesus on the night of his birth.
This carol is very beautiful and gives a different point of view to the well known story as it is told from the perspective of the animals and how they felt on the first Christmas. The rhymes are simple but meaningful. They are very easy to understand
Becky B
Tomie de Paola provides illustrations to accompany the text of this very old Christmas carol. The music is also provided in the back of the book.

A nice simple Christmas nativity-ish book for little ones. I have mixed feelings about the setting de Paola chose. He seems to have placed the nativity in Renaissance period Italy. It fits the rest of de Paola's work, but doesn't really fit the historical setting of the carol. Kids should still like the animal illustrations that are the main focus of th
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My students love the illustrations and request this tale frequently.
This poem is a smooth Christmas carol that kids enjoy because music is involved in this poem. The poem retells a Christmas story with different animals hat are included in this poem such as a cow and a cat. These animals are all part of Jesus birth in this poem. The story will be interesting to kids and song is a very peaceful song for them to learn
Samary Morales
This book is a song poem, which is great for children. It a great way for children to learn and read poems. The poem retells the Christmas story of the animals who where there when Jesus was born. The birth of Jesus is created through the eyes of these stable animals---a donkey, a dove, a cow, a sheep, and a camel.
Jun 07, 2009 rated it liked it
The illustrations for this book were fantastic. The characters had this certain sweetness about them that perfectly matched the Christmas carol. I had never heard of this song before and was glad that it was featured in this book. I would probably recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Tomie dePaola books. The illustrations by him are fresh and colorful and full of magic. this illustration of the old English carol, brings a sweet, gentle and reverent picture of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE...because it's dePaola!
Tomie dePaola's illustrations are truly magical. The people's faces are adoring and pure. Their garments drape beautifully; colorful and rustic. These simple old verses are made even more special using dePaola's wonderful artwork!
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE this Christmas carol! To have it set to illustrations by Tomie dePaola is a wonderful treat!
Cute book... wish I knew what the melody was for the words, but the illustrations were delightful as the animals gathered around baby Jesus. A perfect title to read to little ones on Christmas Eve.
Margaret Chind
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Margaret by: Memoria Press Junior Kindergarten
Bonnie Pohlig
Cute pictures although I'm not that crazy about the way he illustrates his people. Lends itself to reverence, which I like.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, christmas
One of the good ones- rustic and reverent- a good thought about a familiar tale.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite carol with great pictures
Ellen Ramsey
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gentle and friendly illustrations for this Old English Christmas Tale.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
This is an old English carol and would be a fun sing-along if I knew the carol. But since we don't. . .
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty pictures of the night the animals talked - one of my favorite Christmas stories/myths/legends.
Claire L
rated it it was amazing
Dec 26, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jun 12, 2012
Sharp Kids
rated it liked it
Dec 18, 2014
Linda S Morris
rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2014
Hannah Emory
rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2017
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Jun 28, 2007
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.
He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.
Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.
More about Tomie dePaola