The count-down to Christmas is almost done...yes, it is leaving me snowballed, too. But there's no way I'm going to miss the holiday spirit. So, this week is packed with holiday and wintery reads for all ages. Today's isn't a 'new' book but rather a re-release of an already popular one from a very talented and well-known artist.
THE STORY OF THE THREE WISE KINGS
retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book / Holiday / Religious
ages 4 to 8
Three wise men of the East, having seen a new star symbolizing the birth of a great king, follow the star to Bethlehem where they present gifts to the newborn Jesus.
Sliding into the place of very well becoming a Christmas classic, this is one of those books, which can be revisited year after year and holds a special place as a Christmas read.
The tale of the Three Kings is by no means an unfamiliar one, and yet, this one does give a little extra food for thought while offering a wonderful presentation of the well-known incident. This book starts with the individual kings, each in their own country, and explains why they probably noticed the star and followed it. Their paths cross, and they continue their journey together until they find the babe in the manger. I found it wonderful how the tale takes the time to first dive a tiny bit into the background of these kings...not a lot but just enough to get them going and explain why they followed a star. After all, that is quite the undergoing. And it does it simply, quickly and exactly enough for young readers to understand.
The rest of the tale follows the well-known side and does it with care and reverence. The artwork goes hand in hand with the text and creates a wonderful balance, which draws in and makes it a delightful read. Of course, being from a well-known author/illustrator, this one is a treat. The artwork holds some aspects which remind of a more traditional Christian, middle age form, while bringing in a modern flair as well. The text tells the story but never becomes heavy. Instead, it stays short and keeps to a vocabulary young listeners will understand and enjoy.
It's no wonder that this one has been around for years and continues to be printed again and again. I'm going to be adding it to my own shelves and am looking forward to adding it to the few Christmas reads I share with my own younger listeners in the future.