Christmas Gift Guide: Must-have Kids’ Book and Printable Nativity

Renee Ann Smith —  November 19, 2010 — 20 Comments

“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!

Tom Berenger as Jonathan Toomey

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.)

Here’s a link for a free printable nativity set.

This link shows how to make a nativity scene from gingerbread, frosting, and other sweet things!

You can purchase a hardcover copy of the book at the link for Amazon or at this link.

Follow this link for a gift pack that combines a smaller version of the book with a cd.

Follow this link to purchase the movie version of the story on dvd.

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!

Gift book with CD

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

20 responses to Christmas Gift Guide: Must-have Kids’ Book and Printable Nativity

  1. I LOVE this book! I haven’t seen the movie but I’m sure it’s great too! I HAVE to make it a point to watch it for Christmas!

    XOXO~ Renee

    • I know–certain books and movies just have to be read and watched every year! This book is such a good example of how a talented author can touch your heart with just a few well-chosen words.

  2. Oh wow. I am going to look at this. I am giving all my grown children nativity sets this year for Christmas. This would be a perfect fit!

  3. Oh my gosh, what a great idea to give the book and then one piece of the nativity every day as an advent calendar! Thanks for the awesome idea!

  4. My mom would read this book to us at Christmas, and she ALWAYS cried! I’ll have to tell her there’s a movie of it!

  5. I’ve not read this book….another one to add to the list…sounds like I’m gonna have to get the movie too! I’m praying as to whether I should print off the Nativity Set and have my students do it at school….guess I need to check with my director….It would be so neat to use with them. Thanks so much for doing these particular selections this week! It’s ALWAYS fun to have new things to look forward to!! 🙂

  6. I love Jonathan Toomey. Didn’t know there was a movie of it! I need tissues for this book, too!

    And I love the idea of your gingerbread nativity scene. I’m not sure my kids and I have the patience for this yet, but I’m going to save it for future.

  7. Thank you so much for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment. Regarding the book POLITICS ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE by Wayne Grudem, I am not currently reading it (though I would like to after I finish the Wayne Grudem book I am working through now entitled, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY). 🙂 And, to answer your question, I’m not sure if I’ll do a review on the POLITICS book or not… hum. 🙂

    I have never read Susan Wojciechowski’s book THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY. I’ll have to look into that one. 🙂 Thanks for the tip and the gift idea.

    Kindest regards,

  8. I love this book and have been looking for a nativity set just like it. If anyone has ever seen one please let me know. Thank you!

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