What do you get a King for Christmas? That is the question Emma and her dog Shu-Shu have to answer in The King's Christmas List. One day, not long before Christmas they were decorating her playhouse for Christmas when the mailbox began to shine like a star. Emma looked inside and found an invitation to the King's (King is always capitalized in this book) birthday party, His Christmas celebration. Upon arrival of the invitation, things changed; Emma was now able to talk to and understand Shu-Shu.
Having been invited to a birthday party, Emma's first question was what to take as a gift. She decides to take a Christmas cake that she and her mother just baked, even though it is her favorite. She puts on her Christmas cloak, grabs the cake and her favorite bear and she and Shu-Shu get into the carriage sent by the King. On the way to the castle they meet a boy and he grandmother. The boy is under-dressed and the grandmother says he is cold. Emma gives him her cloak, and, since he looks hungry, the cake. Next they meet a little girl and her parents. They appear to be poor and the little girl is crying because her teddy bear fell in the river and was gone. Emma wonders if that is the only toy the girl had, and decides that, even as much as she loves Cherry Bear and goes nowhere without him, that this little girl needed him more.
When she gets to the party Emma notices that the guests are exchanging gifts but that no one is giving gifts to the King. She asks why and He shows her that the people she met on the road were actually angels, sent to see if she had the real spirit of Christmas. The King told her that by doing for others, particularly those in need, you give a gift to Him.
The pictures of the King are kind of "Jesus-ish", guy with long hair and a beard, wearing a long white robe and a small crown on His head. My six year old figured out quickly who the King was. She enjoyed the story and has been trying to take it from me as I'm writing this review. I found the story to be a charming rendition of "Whatsoever you do". While set a Christmas, it could be used year-round. However, while you can lead a horse to water, you can't necessarily make them give treasures away. My daughter's "security blanket" is my old nursing pj shirt. She adopted it even before I quit wearing it, and after it was obvious that it was her choice of objects, it became hers. It is a rag, but to her it is a treasure. I asked if she'd give "Shirtie" to someone who lost a toy, and she looked horrified. Luckily, I'm sure no one would want it.
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