Reviewed by Susan E. Richardson
ZonderKidz adds to their popular hardback picture books with The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving. Author Dandi Daley Mackall tells the story with accompanying full color illustrations by Richard Cowdrey.
We meet Nick first, a contemporary boy who is unwillingly finishing his Christmas shopping with his dad. He’d much rather find something for himself than buy gifts for others. While looking, he hears the store Santa use his name, and stops to listen as Santa tells the story of St. Nicholas.
The story includes how God’s gift of Jesus and the gifts of the Wise Men inspired St. Nicholas’ own giving. Nick takes the story to heart and goes back to his shopping, choosing just the right present for everyone. In the process he learns the joy of giving.
Anyone looking for the history of St. Nicholas will need to go elsewhere, as this story barely touches the historical Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. For those avoiding Santa Claus, both illustrations and story include more than one portrayal, and the artist pictures St. Nicholas himself in a Santa-like red suit.
Parents or grandparents who simply want to reinforce generosity with their preschoolers will find The Legend of St. Nicholas a good choice as a read-aloud title. The illustration style gives a classic tone to the book rather than being cartoonish while the hardback format makes it a durable gift. Pictures and words balance nicely and the message comes through clearly.
By Martin Willoughby
For close to a decade, Martin Willoughby has been a mainstay of this Christian Living magazine. His practical insights and his ability to connect the dots between the Christian walk and the Christian talk have made him a favorite of our readers. His new book is largely a compilation of his columns—a treasure of timeless wisdom and life lessons that most of us would wish to live by as well as to impart to those who matter most to us.
Martin’s sharp mind and his pragmatic approach to the challenges of life, work, family, and faith—in our 2014 complex world—make this a book that will have wide appeal. Whether you are a college student or a retiree, or male or female, I guarantee the character and faith issues discussed in these pages will resonate. Intentional Faith will be one of those books you find yourself going back to again and again.
By the way, you can join us all and get your own autographed copy at LifeWay Christian Store in Jackson on Saturday, December 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. A great gift idea!
By Laurie Parker
Yonder Breaks the Morning is a refreshingly original southern story, a tribute to our precious and dwindling population of WWII veterans, a touching Christmas tale, and most of all, a poignant account that reminds us that beneath the seemingly mundane there is something forever mysterious and miraculous, and people from different walks of life and generations are sometimes more linked than they realize. Fans of Parker’s The Turtle Saver will appreciate what she has crafted in prose with this one—a heartwarming, Deep South version of It’s A Wonderful Life that will have you smiling AND reaching for the tissue box!