Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: The King's Christmas List

I was utterly smitten by the front cover.

I wanted this book for myself, actually!

Bonnie Leick's beautiful illustrations completely steal the show in this sweet children's book, The King's Christmas List, written by Eldon Johnson.

It's Christmastime, and Emma and Shu-Shu are off to the King's birthday party, and they're excited to give him the lovely cake they've made.  But along the way,  Emma crosses paths with several needy people, and she generously gives of her own possessions--her cake, her Christmas cape, and her teddy bear.

When they arrive at the castle, Emma begins to apologize to the King for showing up without a gift, but He assures Emma that she has unknowingly given Him just what He wanted:
Anyone who desires to give Me a gift, behold!
Give food to the hungry and clothes to the cold,
Give care to the poor, both young and old,
Whatever gift you've given to a person in need,
Is indeed a gift you have given to Me.
Based on Matthew 25:37-40, this story is a good reminder of what sacrificial giving looks like.  In my opinion, the storytelling is a bit rough, amateurish, especially when the King reveals that the needy people along the roadside were really angels in disguise.  Parts of the language were quite cliche, i.e., "the greatest Christmas present of all," and "the true spirit of Christmas."  But the illustrations more than make up for the somewhat rough delivery!

One unique feature of The King's Christmas List is the last page, which gives families an opportunity to get involved in ministering to the needy.  Families are directed to two charities for giving opportunities (I'm unfamiliar with the ins & outs of these particular ministries, so I'm unable to speak to their integrity.)  The book also provides fun, free ideas for children to give their own Christmas gift to the King.

I've worked hard to hide this lovely book from my kids; I'm saving it for Christmas!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.