Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Donkey's First Christmas

God often uses the least likely people to accomplish his goals, and in The Donkey's First Christmas by S.T. Schroder, he also uses a stubborn donkey.

This little blue donkey doesn't want to do anything - unless it's his own idea. To avoid working for his master, he puts on illness, or hides, or just plain refuses to move. But one day, despite hiding, limping, coughing, and loudly braying, his master gives him - for free - to a man.

The donkey's heart sinks as he sees his load: A very pregnant woman, plus some luggage. "I won't and you can't make me," the donkey thinks, but the woman offers him a pear: "There you go you sweetie. Let's have a bite to eat. It wouldn't do to start our trip without a little treat." The donkey decides he'll do as the woman asks - "but only for today."

The woman's kindness keeps the donkey walking, even when he thinks he can't go a step further, until at last he collapses in a stable. The next thing he knows, he hears a baby crying.

"Then when I saw the mother
pull her tiny baby near
an angel who'd been watching

Leant and whispered in her ear

You see now little donkey
what a special thing you've done?
By helping carry Mary
- you helped God's precious son.'"

What I Like: This is a cute book, with chunky, sweet illustrations in soft colors. It appealed to both my children - who, like so many young kids - sometimes want to be as stubborn as the blue donkey. Although the book does not give the full story of the first Christmas, it does create an opening to discuss it, all while holding a young child's attention better than a more realistic book might.
What I Dislike: Schroder's rhyming text occasionally is forced, but my only major complaint is the text, which uses a capital O whenever an O appears in the text, reminding us of the first illustration in the book where the donkey is shown braying "e-Or!" While this is creative, it - combined with the thin font designed to appear hand written (or, perhaps it is hand written) makes it difficult for me to read the story without hesitating.
Overall Rating: Despite the problem with the font, very good.

Age Appeal: Toddler to early grade school.
Publishing Info: Tilli Publishing; 2011; ISBN: 978-1908053015; paperback, 24 pgs., $9.99.

Buy Now at Amazon.com for $9.99
OR buy at ChristianBook.com for $8.19
Special Info: To see a book trailer for The Donkey's First Christmas, visit the author's website. There, you can also download an excerpt from the book and email the author about free lesson plans to go with the book.
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