Daily activities, prayers, and Bible verses count the 25 days to Christmas and tell the story of the Nativity.
As outlined in the opening address to caregivers, this lengthy and hefty board book is intended to help young children cope with the wait for Christmas Day and understand the story of Jesus’ birth. Each day of December has its own two-page layout that includes a brief piece of the story of Christmas, an interactive activity, a prayer, and a Bible verse. Simon does a nice job of telling a complicated story in small parts over several days, making it digestible for young readers. Some of the prayers include a fill-in-the-blank portion, a nice way to engage readers in the process of composition. Some of the activities are accessible using materials found around the house, such as making a paper-link chain, while others—making handprint wrapping paper, tying jingle bells on shoes—are less so. Hartley’s illustrations feature modern people in Western attire and occasional Biblical costume, representing a range of ages and races. The cartoon style is cutesy but forgettable. Most critically, the board-book format doesn’t fit the busy content, requiring readers beyond the need for an indestructible book.
As a well-paced explanation of Jesus’ birth, it succeeds; the rest is superfluous. (Board book. 4-6)