The Christmas Promise (Tales that Tell the Truth #1)

The Christmas Promise
The Christmas Promise by Alison Mitchell
Also by this author: Jesus and the Lions' Den: A True Story about How Daniel Points Us to Jesus, The Storm That Stopped, The One O'Clock Miracle
Series: Tales that Tell the Truth #1
Published by The Good Book Company on November 4, 2014
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories, Christmas
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five-stars

A captivating retelling of the Christmas story showing how God kept His promise to send a new King.

Superb illustrations by Catalina Echeverri and faithful, Bible-centered story-telling by Alison Mitchell combine to make this a book that both parents and children will love.

A long, long time ago so long that it’s hard to imagine God promised a new King. He wasn’t any ordinary king, like the ones we see on TV or in books. He would be different. He would be a new King; a rescuing King; a forever King!

This book helps pre-school children discover exactly how God kept His Christmas Promise.

Children’s books are everywhere.

Children’s retellings of Bible stories are everywhere.

And the quality…well…in my experience, the quality ranges.

How are we supposed to sort through it all?

Early on, with my kids, I developed some guidelines for choosing a children’s Bible storybook.

  1. Is the story biblically accurate?
  2. Is the story relationally applicable?
  3. Does the story’s language/vocabulary fit the intended audience?
  4. Are the illustrations diverse?

And whenever somebody asks me for a practical example of those four guidelines, I inevitably point them toward Tales that Tell the Truth. There are currently ten books in the series (the latest upcoming June 2020) along with a variety of supplemental materials like coloring books that accompany each volume. The series has a variety of authors with illustrator Catalina Echeverri providing a cohesive stylistic design.

The Christmas Promise | Tales That Tell The Truth

Children’s Christmas books are an easy and expected market. It’s a familiar story that gets told every year and adults want the young ones in their lives to experience it in a way they can understand. And with Christmas being a gift-giving holiday and books being an excellent gift (for kids and adults alike…hint hint), it’s not surprising to see every Christian publisher have their own offering.

This can be both good and bad. Bad, because sometimes you’ll see a story thrown together slapdash with no real thought or passion behind it. Good, because to truly stand out, you have to be willing to have a compelling take on a story you can’t really deviate from and do it well.

As such, the primary thing I look for in books like this are the illustrations. They are thing most likely to be varied from book to book. And the first thing I look for in any Christian-themed picture book? Jesus.

I think it has to be a conscious choice that Jesus is portrayed in a variety of skin tones. He’s a definite Middle Eastern brown on the cover, looks lighter in a few of the panels, and is a definite peachy white on the final page. Hopefully, the reason for this is that illustrator Catalina Echiverri is both trying to capture the historical Jesus while also appealing to the need for small children to see characters who look like them.

The story itself focuses mainly on the angels who deliver the Christmas message. The first two panels set up this focus by asking the question: “Long, long ago, God promised to send a very special new King. Would you like to know how he did it?”

From Mary and Joseph to the shepherds and wise men, The Christmas Promise tells us of the angelic Gospel message of the coming King. (And bonus points for setting the timeframe of the wise men correctly!) It’s illustrated well and tells a simple story, intended for toddlers. There’s not much here to call it outstanding, but nothing to really pick at, either. It’s cutely illustrated with a fun message. It’s a solid offering from a great publisher.

five-stars