“Christmas is pish-posh,” grumbles Jonathan Toomey. An expression which also sums up his view of life. He’s the best woodcarver in the valley, but all the villagers notice is that he keeps to himself. And he never smiles.
One day in early winter, the Widow McDowell comes to town. Unaware of his reputation, she calls on Jonathan with a request. Would he carve her a new crèche in time for Christmas? The catch: she wants her young son Thomas to observe the process. This simple consignment leads to a miracle as we watch Thomas undermine the gruff man’s defenses. Soon Jonathan’s Scrooge-like personality is totally transformed by an innocent seven-year-old boy.
I love a story of redemption and second chances, and Susan Wojciechowski’s book is one of my all-time favorites. It’s especially powerful because of P. J. Lynch’s lush illustrations, which bring the tale to vivid life. According to Booklist, this story is aimed at children aged 4 to 9. However, I know that when I read this to my fellow teachers during a morning devotion, we all ended up with tears in our eyes.
Christmas Gift Guide: This is a perfect family gift!
And since, Jonathan’s story was made into a movie, the book could be paired with the dvd plus a small nativity set as a gift basket for any family with young children.
Bonus idea: You can use a nativity scene plus this book to give as Advent gifts. On the first day, give the book and read it with your children. Then unwrap or construct a piece of the nativity scene every day. You may want to re-read the story or choose Scripture to read along the way. You could include the movie on one day. Be sure to end with the baby Jesus! (Also, to match the story, be sure to include cows and sheep in your nativity set.)
Would you like more great gift ideas? You’ll find them at the Creative Madness Mama blog. Scroll to the second list on this post (before the comments) and click on any link to read a review of a Christmas Christian fiction story. Some of the reviews are for other wonderful kids’ books!