Saturday, September 22, 2012

Catholic Company Book Review: Candy Canes in Bethlehem

About the Book:
As their world grows larger, young children start reflecting upon their own traditions, while becoming intrigued by diverse cultural practices. This festive Christmas storybook guides children through uncovering the religious meanings behind secular symbols, and the various cultural traditions celebrate the holiday.

Ideal for ages 6-8, children will be drawn to the read aloud-friendly format and the brightly colored, brushstroke illustrations. Teachers, parents, grandparents, librarians, and catechists will find this book an entertainingly educational way to illuminate the faith which celebrates the birth of Jesus in many ways.

The story opens with Christmas fast approaching. Daniel is excited to help Deacon Matthews with a special project in his parish…until he is assigned the boring nativity scene! Deacon Matthews senses Daniel's disappointment, and explains to him that the manger scene is the most important part of Christmas: Christmas represents Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, and without his birth, there would be no reason to celebrate. To encourage Daniel's enthusiasm about the project, he suggests personalizing the nativity scene.<

Daniel becomes inspired by ideas from around the world-from Kenya, Mexico, Japan, Native America, and Australia. Excited by origami crane decorations, Three Kings tribal elders, a glass pickle ornament, kangaroo reindeers, and Christmas piƱatas, he comes to the realization that these unique gifts of tradition are all celebrations of the same event: the birth of Jesus Christ! Like Daniel, your child too, will learn how so many unique traditions can exist within a single faith community.

Using his imagination, Daniel creates a nativity scene unlike any other, combining many cultural traditions and adding a touch of his own: a miniature candy cane placed beside Jesus in the cradle. When Deacon Matthews sees the final masterpiece, he is bewildered.

But maybe this time it is Daniel who has something to teach Deacon Matthews about the meaning of Christmas….

My Comments:
My eight year old enjoyed this book.  I thought the illustrations were well done and the story did a good job of not only repeating the age-old story but also of telling us how people around the world celebrate.  I have to say I never knew kangaroos pulled Santa's sleigh in Australia or that Lebanese folks planted basil.  The point is made that all our Christmas traditions are there for one reason, to celebrate Jesus' birthday.  

Published by Pauline Books and Media, the book is distinctively Catholic in that the action takes place in the parish hall at All Saints Parish and one of the characters is a deacon.  I don't think there is any reason a non-Catholic would mind if his/her child got this book.   

I'd like to thank the Catholic Company for making this book available for review.  Grade:  B+

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Candy Canes in Bethlehem. The Catholic Company is a great resource for tools to help you participate in the Year of Faith, including Year of Faith bible studies and exclusive Year of Faith personalized gifts. The Catholic Company also has all your Advent needs in stock, such as Advent calendars and Advent wreaths.

1 comment:

  1. This one looks like fun...we could use another Christmas book for the kids.


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