Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mary's Christmas Story and Joseph's Christmas Story

In my excitement to share the Christmas season with my children by reading new, interesting Christmas books, I forgot my toddler still needs to learn the basics. When she told me we celebrate her cousin's birthday on Christmas (instead of Jesus') and was nervous about a story with the "grown-up Jesus," I realized I better go back to the beginning. Mary's Christmas Story and Joseph's Christmas Story by Arch Books proved to be the perfect answer.

Mary's Christmas Story is based on Luke 1:26-2:20, and begins with Mary getting startling news from a friendly-looking angel, and rushing off to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. The story continues through the birth of Jesus and the shepherds' visit. I had forgotten, after the shepherds left Mary and Joseph, they went into Bethlehem to tell everyone about Jesus.

Joseph's Christmas Story, based on Matthew 1:18-24, and Luke 2: 1-20, focuses on Joseph's confusion, but then obedience in taking Mary to be his wife, and their journey to Bethlehem. After the angel explains the truth of Mary's words, they have a lovely wedding. Before long, they set out for Bethlehem. "Kind Joseph" has an active role in Jesus' birth, as he fixes a bed of hay for Mary to lie on, and places Baby Jesus into Mary's arms.

Although I use the books together, the illustrations in Mary's Christmas Story are more childlike, where the illustrations in Joseph's Christmas Story portray Mary and Joseph as grown-ups.

What I Like: I really like the simplicity of the stories and how biblical the stories are. They are the most accurate stories you will find, besides those in children's Bibles. It is nice to hear the story from Mary's point of view and also from Joseph's. It is easy to forget about Joseph, but he truly was a remarkable husband and father.

I also like the price. While books are my weakness, it is nice to be able to spend two dollars and get a great book.

I was also very pleased because my two-and-a-half year old loves the books and asks me to read them again and again. Now, if you ask her whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas, she will say, "Jesus!"

What I Dislike: Sometimes the rhyme and rhythm are a little off, but my kids enjoy rhyming books, and overall the rhyme is pretty well done.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: The books list 5-9 on the back, but I would say 1 and up

Publisher Info: (Mary's Christmas Story) Concordia Publishing House, 1996; ISBN: 0-570-07526-2; Paperback, $2.49
(Joseph's Christmas Story) Concordia Publishing House, 2002; ISBN: 0-570-07577-7, Paperback, $2.49

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $1.99 (Mary's Christmas Story)

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $2.49.

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $1.99 (Joseph's Christmas Story)

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $2.49.

Special Info: Check out our reviews of other Arch Books here.



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1 comment:

Kristi Bernard said...

This is a great blog! I love that you feature christian stories for kids. It is so important for us to teach children stories from the bible.