25 Stories of Advent--December 10

"Do be patient with him," she said to Joseph. "We need him
as much as he needs us."
This made Donkey feel very special indeed. They needed him!

Today we follow Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and we're looking at books from the donkey's perspective. First is All Safe in the Stable by Mig Holder, (Candle Books, 2005). This is a fun book that looks at the journey to Bethlehem with a beaten down donkey purchased by Joseph. While he's glad to be away from his previously unkind owner, the load he has to carry seems to be more than he can handle.His stubborn streak shows itself as he plods along, but when he realizes there's danger ahead for the expectant mother, digging in his heels may be the best thing for everyone.

This detailed story is one that will keep the attention of children who are 6 and older. The contrast between the cruel owner and kind Mary, and the sneaky Rat and the dutiful Donkey add to the drama and convey a message of doing the right thing even when faced with the opportunity and pressure to make a self-serving choice.

The other book for today is An Angel Came to Nazareth, written by Anthony Knott, Illustrated by Maggie Keen (Chronicle Books, 2005). This is a book with a simple, rhyming message that shows an angel appearing to a camel, donkey, horse and ox and giving them the choice of who they will carry on a journey.

"Just one beast from this stall
Will carry into Bethlehem
The greatest of them all."

One by one the animals make their choice, to carry a king, a solider, a good Samaritan, and finally, an expectant mother.
"Now I will choose," the donkey cried,
"Not good or great or tall,
but the lady waiting here 
Who needs bearing most of all."

While the simple telling of the story is lovely, the real charm of this book can only be felt when it's in your hands (this is one case where the e-book can't possibly do it justice). It's printed on cardstock, and each page is embossed and foiled and beautifully illustrated. While your child may need you to read the story to them, this would be a book to put into their hands while you do.

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