Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Story of the Nativity

Designed as a simple countdown to Christmas day, The Story of Nativity by Tracy Harrast also offers a variety of re-usable stickers and a background so kids can have their own Christmas playset.

The playset is really just a piece of cardboard designed to fold at the sides so it can stand up. An attractive stable is printed on it. The stickers - of all the usual nativity characters - are also made of cardboard.

The book itself features bright illustrations by Estele Corke, showing the familiar biblical Christmas story. Each day before Christmas, one of the 24 pages offers part of the Christmas story, told in one short paragraph. Each page also has a Bible verse and a suggestion on how to "celebrate Christmas today." For example, the first page shows Mary feeding chickens outside her home. The text reads:
"Mary was a young woman who lived long ago in Nazareth. She loved God with all of her heart. Mary was willing to do whatever God asked."
The Bible verse is Luke 1:38: "'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered." And the suggestion is: "Tell God how much you love Him and want to serve Him."

What I Like: My kids love Advent books that count down to Christmas. This one is short and simple and easy enough for my two year old to enjoy, yet my 5 year old is still interested, too. The illustrations are sweet, and I love the many suggestions on how to "celebrate Christmas today." My 5 year old also likes the play scene.

What I Dislike: Despite liking the play scene, my 5 year old also gets a little frustrated with it. She doesn't like the fact that all the stickers don't fit easily on the play board. In order to get them all on, they must overlap; this sometimes means the stickers don't stay in place. Also, she found it difficult to get all the stickers on the board and still have the board bend so it could stand up.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but I'd say toddler to first grade.

Publishing Info: Kregel, 2010; ISBN: 978-0825455490; hardback, 24 pgs., $14.99.

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