Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review :: The Legend of St. Nicholas (A Story of Christmas Giving) by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

The Legend of St. Nicholas (A Story of Christmas Giving) is another book in a long line of "The Legend of..." books by Zondervan/ZonderkidzThe Legend of St. Nicholas is written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Richard Cowdrey. Dandi Daley Mackall has authored over 450 books and Richard Cowdrey has illustrated a large number of books, the Marley series being the most popular. 
The Legend of St. Nicholas is a hardcover book with a dust jacket (the snow on the dust jacket is embellished with glitter), and is written with the 4-8 age group in mind. The illustrations in The Legend of St. Nicholas are big, colorful, and beautiful to look at. 

Like other "The Legend of..." books that I have read, The Legend of St. Nicholas is a story within a story. This story follows a boy (Nick) who is more interested in getting than giving during the Christmas season. Nick is out Christmas shopping with his dad when he hears a "store Santa" telling the story of Saint Nicholas. Through the story of Saint Nicholas, the boy (Nick) learns about the joy of giving. 

I think The Legend of St. Nicholas had some wonderful morals, but overall, I think the most important ideas in the story got overshadowed by something less important. I loved the idea in the story that if people receive anonymous gifts, since they don't know who to thank - they thank God. I also loved the ideas of helping others in need and the idea that God has given us the greatest gift of all - Jesus. I wish those ideas had been emphasized more, but the moral that gets more attention in this story is "giving gifts to others is fun". While some children (and adults) love giving gifts, not all do, and I think it may be misleading and even possibly discouraging to some to say that giving gifts is a joy. Even if everyone does love giving gifts, that still keeps the focus on one's self, rather than focusing on others and the true joy of the season. 

If you are looking for a Christmas story that focuses on Jesus, this is not it. Although Jesus is mentioned, the focus of The Legend of St. Nicholas is the story of Saint Nicholas. 

What I love about The Legend of St. Nicholas is that the story is focused on a child (young "Saint Nicholas") who sees the needs in other, less fortunate children...and acts on it. I think this is a great example for children. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

No comments: