Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell (Jason Cockcroft, Ill. McElderry Books, 2004) is a warm, beautifully illustrated book that tells of each animal (Kind Ox, Old Dog, Stray Cat, et al) welcoming the next in out of the cold with the encouragement, "There's always room for a little one here."
It's a simple, gentle telling of Mary and Joseph arriving at the stable and baby Jesus being born surrounded by the animals. Room for a Little One is a good choice if you want to give a book of the real story of Christmas without it seeming overly preachy. The soft, almost dreamy illustrations make this a perfect bedtime story.
Who is Coming to Our House? was one of our first Christmas books. In this sweet board book Little Mouse comes to the stable to announce the pending arrival of a special guest. In turn, the animals each do something to prepare. "We must clean, " says Lamb. "Dust the beams," says Ram.
There is something precious in the telling of each of these stories. While my (allergic-to-everything-with-fur) logical mind knows that Jesus didn't come for the animals, the expectation that these tales build does give a glimpse of the what the state of our own hearts should be.