We Believe in Christmas, written by #1 bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, emphasizes that Christmas resides in our hearts as long as we keep our focus on Jesus. Illustrated by Daniel Brown, the book features colorful, life-like paintings. The book begins like this:
We believe in Christmastime whatever age you are.
And so let's look for Christmas now; it might be very near --
as close as finding Jesus Christ in what we see and hear."
The text and illustrations then follow a multi-racial family as the prepare for and perform in a traditional Christmas pageant, a reenactment of the Nativity. As they drive they see stars in the sky, a decorated tree, gifts, angels and more. With each item, they remember something about the real reason for Christmas. Every stanza ends with "and there will Christmas be." For example, one page reads:
The book concludes much like it begins, reinforcing the point that we'll always have Christmas when we think of Jesus Christ.
What I Like: I love the intent of keeping our holiday focus on Christ. The illustrations are great; they reminded me of the characters in Kingsbury's bestselling Baxter series. I appreciate the diversity of characters. The text has a great flow. Even though the rhymes aren't always perfect, it's an easy, lyrical read.
What I Dislike: Rather than emphasizing fact, the book seems to indicate that Jesus and Christmas are only real "if we believe." One page features Santa Claus. The text reads: "And should they whisper 'I believe...' when sitting on his knee, whisper, 'I believe this more,' and there will Christmas be." I don't think this inclusion is a bad thing, necessarily, but it does further cloud the book's conviction. We don't do Santa in our house, so this just confused my kids. It made them question whether, if Jesus was real, then maybe Santa is real too; maybe we should believe in him as well.
Overall Rating: Upper side of Good. I recommend it for an older audience. It's more of a heritage book than a teaching tool.
Age Appeal: 4-7, according to the publisher
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2008; ISBN: 0310712122; Hardback; $16.99
Special Info: Visit the author's website for more information on her and all of her books.