Published by Good Book Company on October 1, 2020
Genres: Children's, Christmas
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This rhyming book with warm, quirky illustrations makes a beautiful Christmas gift for children who are 4-7 years old.
In this story of a Christmas nativity play, Mary thinks she is the star of the show. However, as the play goes on, she finds that every scene has been stolen by an unlikely character or object, such as a tent, a phone and a lion!
With the help of the narrator, Mary realizes that each one actually teaches us a profound truth about Jesus. The tent teaches us that Jesus came to live among us humbly; the phone teaches us that Jesus came to connect us to God; and the lion shows us that Jesus is the king of the universe!
Along with Mary, readers will see that Jesus is the true star of the show and that it is wonderful to know him.
In this charming, offbeat picture book, a little girl who stars as Mary in a Christmas pageant becomes increasingly aggravated with the strange props that keep showing up to change the show. She insists that a tent does not belong, and that there should never be a phone in a Christmas play, but each item serves as a metaphor for who Jesus is. He came and cast his tent to live among us, and he serves as our mediator and communication between heaven and earth. Over time, Mary recognizes that she is not the star of the show, and that Jesus is the true center of Christmas.
Lizzie Laferton’s rhyming text has a strong rhythm, and the illustrations from Kim Barnes are bright and colorful. The illustrations are also racially diverse, and even though the text does not draw attention to this, I appreciate the conscious effort at inclusion and the underlying message that Jesus came for people of all nations and ethnic backgrounds. I would recommend this book to Christian families and churches, and even though older children can read this to themselves, the dramatic text makes for an especially fun read-aloud.
I really enjoyed this, and think that it is a great alternative for people who are turned off by overly sentimental takes on Christmas. There’s a Lion in My Nativity! emphasizes why Christ came to earth, focusing on Him as God incarnate and “the Rescuing King,” not just a cute baby in a manger. Parents who are looking for a picture book that focuses on Christ the Savior will find this helpful, and even though some people may find this story too quirky for their tastes, the book’s surprise factor makes its messages memorable, providing a new perspective into the Nativity.