I have discovered over the years, that life can be challenging. God desires to sustain us as we look for "splashes of His grace" every day. My desire is that through posts, or book reviews, you may find something that points you to the grace of God, and that He ultimately will make a difference in your life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Read and Share: The Story of Christmas, Retold by Gwen Ellis and Illustrated by Steve Smallman

The Story of Christmas is a children's book based on the International Children's Bible. The story begins with the the birth of John the Baptist and ends with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus heading home to Nazareth. Each two page spread is like a chapter in itself with the Scripture reference below the title of that section. On the bottom of the right hand page, a question is posed to encourage discussion as you read through the story of Jesus' birth. The illustrations are colorful and appealing. At the very end of the book, there are pictures for the child to point to, in the correct order, as they retell the story. The book also comes with a DVD with six short stories from the life of Jesus, along with some trailers promoting other videos, plus coloring pages and wallpaper for use with a computer.

The overall concept of the book is excellent. It is written in simple terms young children can understand, though having the angel declare to the shepherds, "You will find Him lying in a feeding box" caught me off guard! I personally would have preferred the word "manger" with an explanation, if necessary. The discussion questions for the most part were thought provoking or helpful in the explanation of the story, but a few of them were beyond a young child's understanding.

I expected the DVD to be a tremendous asset to the book, but found the stories much shorter than I anticipated and not as engaging as I had hoped. I could not get to the coloring pages on my computer. When that option was chosen, it sent me back to the main menu. They could be accessed through a search of the disk, but was not worth the effort it took to find that out.

Overall I think it was a good book that would be appropriate for very young children through early elementary school children who will be able to retell the story on their own using the pictures in the back of the book.

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