Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Book Review :: Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Rachel Clowes

Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is another "love letter" book from Glenys Nellist. Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories takes you through 7 Bible stories themed around the birth of Jesus), with a "Love Letter from God" to go along with each story. 
If you've seen the "love letter" books before, they all share similar attributes. Each love letter is adhered to the page after the story, and the contents of the letter can be accessed by lifting the flap. The pages and love letters are a good weight - not exactly as thick as heavyweight cardstock, but not so thin that you should have to worry much about your 4-8 year olds ripping the pages (unless they are generally rough on books). Each love letter begins with "Dear _______," so a child's name can be written in if you choose. At the end of the book is a blank love letter titled "My Gift to Jesus" that can be filled in by the child. 

These are the stories told in Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories:
- Isaiah's Good News
- Mary's Song
- Joseph's Dream
- Bethlehem's Road
- Jesus Joy!
- Shepherd's Surprise
- Wise Men's Wonder

Each Bible story is retold as a story (not the Biblical text). Each of the stories in Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is three pages long, with a rhyming portion of the story on the second page. The retellings are cute, but if you are looking for something that is strictly biblically accurate, this book is probably not what you are looking for.  I think it is the same with most Bible story books - with each story the author will take certain creative liberties with the retelling. 

Along with each story is a verse ("God's Perfect Promise") that goes along with the theme of the story. (The verse is not taken from the story itself.) Each "Love Letter from God" goes along with the theme as well. The themes are a wonderful start to discussions with your child(ren). 

The illustrations by Sophie Allsopp are great, giving the child plenty to look at without being overwhelming. The illustrations are mainly hand-drawn, but there are a few scanned/photographed pieces mixed in. I wish the illustrations had all been hand-drawn - the artist is very talented.

As I've said before about these books - I think Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is a great book to share with little ones. This is one of those instances where I think it is important that you go with your gut. If you don't like the idea of an author writing words "from God", this is not a book I would suggest for you. If you don't like the idea of Bible stories told in words other than what is directly written in the Bible, this book is not for you. But, if you like to use a variety of books to tell your children about God and His love, and appreciate the perspective and creativity of a variety of authors and artists - get Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories to share with your loved ones.
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.

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