TITLE: How the Hibernators Came to Bethlehem
AUTHOR: Norma Faber
ILLUSTRATOR: Barbara Cooney
One of the most beloved Nativity picture books of all time is Norma Faber’s classic How the Hibernators Came to Bethlehem, illustrated by Barbara Cooney. In it the Star of Bethlehem creeps into the dens and caves of all the hibernating animals, like bears, and badgers, and turtles. They all awake, and come to due homage to Our Lord:
The star inserted a silver pass key, first at one keyhole, then at another. The locks of the hiding places sprang open. Skunk and Raccoon shook themselves. The followed slumbrously where they were led, as the star sang, Bethlehem!
Cooney is one of the best realist illustrators, and has created luminous winterscapes out of blues, rich browns, and the silver light of that great star. This book is always brought back into print around Christmas time, often in a board-book, so it’s even toddler friendly.
Also, be sure to check out this wonderful interview of Cooney from The Horn Book many years ago.