This is one of my favorite "true" Christmas stories. It is set on the western front on a Christmas Eve during World War One. It relates a magical night when the soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the spirit of the season. When I teach this book, usually to fifth graders, I also play the song. This is a deeply moving tale.
I absolutely love the illustrations in this animal oriented telling of the Christmas story. The handling of the Jesus story is very gentle and deft. The animals express nearly human thoughts and feelings about miracle of Christmas.