Monday, October 13, 2014

The Legend of St. Nicholas written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

Christmas stories warm the heart. Reading with our children and grandchildren is a cherished gift. Anytime we can place a book in a child's hands it gives an opportunity for their imagination to travel to another place and time. 

The illustrations are beautifully done. The colors are bright and inviting. Richard Cowdrey is  talented at giving the reader a magical portrait of the scene. 

I love how the story begins. A young boy and his dad off shopping for the family. That's tough for children and if we are honest, even tough for adults at times. We have a pocket full of money, but instead of purchasing for others we see something that catches are eye and would just as soon spend the money on ourselves. 

As the young boy selfishness is jiggling his coins in his pocket he overhears the story of St. Nicholas being told by a store Santa. This story changes the young boy. He has a greater understanding of giving. And now begins the story of St. Nicholas. 

This is one of those treasured stories to pass on to children. As we read the story of St. Nicholas we too hear the story of baby Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas. He is our greatest gift. The story begins for St. Nicholas when he is at the age of ten. His parents are very wealthy. He never ached for anything. He turns twelve and is riding in a carriage with his parents. He isn't quite sure why the children playing outside don't have coats and hats. His parents explain they most likely don't have any. The story continues as Nick and his family travel to the Holy Land where baby Jesus was born. This is where the story may get a little difficult for little ones. Nick's parents die. Not something you really want to explain to your children while reading a Christmas story. 

Outside of that the story continues with Nick seeing the needs of his friends. They share with him not toys and such, but true needs. Nick is left with all the wealth of his parents and he now knows just how he can help  his friends. He can give. What I love is that he does it secretly. They come to him later sharing the wonderful treasures they found on Christmas morning, but Nick never shares just who that giver was. 

The story moves on to share just how the treasured story of St. Nicholas came about. Here is the last paragraph in the story:

"Nick felt sure he'd never look at Christmas the same way. He wanted to remember the gifts of Saint Nicholas, the gifts of the wise kings, and most of all, God's gift of baby Jesus." 

This is a sweet story, but one that I feel is more for older children. I will still open the pages for my grandchildren and allow them to dream. There are just a few places I will add to the story and a few things like the death the Nick's parents that I will leave out. 

This children's book is a gift from Zondervan for sharing my review with you. 

Dandi Daley Mackall is the author of over 400 books and still can’t believe she gets to write for a living, helping children of all ages grow spiritually. She and her husband, Joe, both write from rural Ohio, where they’re blessed with three children and a variety of horses, dogs, and cats.

Richard Cowdrey’s favorite things to draw and paint are the things that reflect the awesomeness of God and His creation. From vast landscapes to the littlest bug on a leaf, Richard marvels at the beauty in the details. Richard's bestselling children's books include Bad Dog, Marley and A Very Marley Christmas.


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