Monday, 11 October 2010

Book Review: A Christmas Prayer by Amy Parker

I was recently introduced to BookSneeze, a site which offers bloggers free books by Christian authors which are published by Thomas Nelson, in exchange for an honest review of the book(s) you have received from them.  I was intrigued by the idea, so here is the first of my reviews.

The book I requested was titled A Christmas Prayer, written by Amy Parker and illustrated by Marijan Ramljak.  It is a short and simple book aimed at young children, especially pre-schoolers.  The story centres on a child who is preparing for Christmas and thanking God for his "Christmas gifts".  The prayer is written in a rhyming style which will appeal to little ones and takes readers through various components of the Nativity story, such as the shepherds who visited baby Jesus and the star which led the way for the wise men.  The child thanks God for each of the mentioned "characters" of Christmas, finishing with thanking God for Jesus.

The physical book itself is well produced, with a lovely padded hard cover and sweet illustrations.  The story was easy to read and simple enough for little children to understand.   My one problem with it is that the theology behind this re-telling of the Nativity story was not entirely correct. While I commend the author for trying to teach children about Christmas and to be thankful for the things they have, I believe that she has tried too hard to reinforce this lesson, and hence, ended up misrepresenting the meaning of Christmas.

As mentioned, each page of the story thanks God for a different aspect of the Christmas story.  However, each aspect, such as the Christmas star, is called God's "precious Christmas gift" to us.  My issue with this is that God's gift to us was not the star, or Mary, or Joseph or the wise men (although He was sovereign in every aspect of the Christmas story).  His gift to us was Jesus, his Son.  I think the author realises this since she makes the effort to refer to Jesus as God's "perfect Christmas gift" while the other "gifts" are "precious".  However, I am still disappointed to see these characters referred to in this manner.

I was hoping this cute-looking book would become another tool for teaching my children the Christmas story and be something I could recommend to friends who have young children.  But I am disappointed to find that I will have to add explanations during my reading, lest my children misunderstand that the one and only focus of Christmas is Jesus.


  1. I think I just closed the screen before hitting enter.
    It is sad that they do that.
    I find in many Christian picture books the important details get missed or slipped up on.
    Great review.

  2. Great review...thanks for taking the time. Before I read any books I always try to find reviews on them.

    And thanks for stopping by.

  3. it is true that these other things weren't gifts to us, purely essential elements of the birth and discovery of Christ, but I guess she keeps referring to all as gifts because too many children only want material gifts at christmas and we seek to encourage our kids to be grateful for the most important meaning of Christmas.
    Its great that they offer this service in return for reviews, I had wondered what you were refering to in your tweets.


I love finding out what my readers think, so thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment!

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