The Story of Christmas – Gwen Ellis

The Story of Christmas retold by Gwen Ellis is a colorfully illustrated version of the Christmas story beginning with the birth of John the Baptist and then introducing the reader to Mary. The book is broken into six two page spreads that are highly illustrated.  Biblical verse reference is included at the beginning of each section and thought questions are placed a the end.  Some of the thought questions were stronger than others, but overall they enhance the book.   The text of the book is very simplistic and at times distracting due to the “watering down” of language choice.  For example “feeding box” is used rather than the term manger.   One of the highlights of the book was the final two pages in which pictures from the text are shown as aides for your child to retell the story.  This is a great way to continue discussion of the Christmas story with your child.

A DVD is also included with this book.  It contains six short stories about Jesus which are very engaging for little ones.  The DVD has the same “look” as the characters in the book which our daughter seems to really appreciate.

Overall, this book and DVD is a good introduction to the true meaning of Christmas for the toddler/preschool child.

While this complimentary book and DVD were provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers, no other compensation was given.  All remarks are my personal and honest opinions.

5 Cities that Ruled the World – Douglas Wilson

5 Cities that Ruled the Word by Douglas Wilson attempts to explain the importance and significance of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York not merely during a specific time period, but their ultimate role in shaping global history.   Wilson gives an overview of each city through a single chapter which highlights successes as well as failures and ultimately provides a primary contribution:

Jerusalem – Spiritual Liberty

Athens – Democracy

Rome – Law and Justice

London – Literacy and Literature

New York – Free Enterprise

Further, he shares the theological significance of each of these cities weaving scripture reference throughout the text.

As someone who rarely reads historically based texts for pleasure reading, I found this book to be an enjoyable,  quick read which provided quite a bit of new information for me.   The use of a conversational tone made the text particularly accessible.  Although I appreciated the attempt, I found the author’s use of humor distracting at times.

Clearly, one cannot have a full understanding of the history of each of these cities (Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York) nor their impact and influence as the result of reading a 200 page book.  That being said, 5 Cities that Ruled the Earth provides a good starting point for further exploration and study.

While this complimentary book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinions.