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Archive for the ‘Epiphany’ Category

Today the church celebrates the feast of the Epiphany.  Traditionally on January 6, but often moved to the preceding sunday.  Here are some wonderful stories to enhance your children’s observance of this day.

Gennady Spirin has a stunning but simple book entitled We Three Kings. It is quite simply, the words to the carol of the same name.  Each page has just a line or so from the carol, but the pictures are amazingly detailed and colorful.

Another book that would be appropriate for Epiphany is The Last Straw.  You can read my previous review of that one, here.

And of course, my personal favorite would be Tomie DePaola‘s version of the Epiphany story.

“Like a flame of fire that star pointed out God, the King of Kings.

The Story of the Three Wise Kings is a traditional story, pulling on the account in Matthew’s gospel, as well as traditions about the names and attributes of the kings.  I’m definitely a huge fan of DePaola’s style of storytelling and illustrating.

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The first book in my reviews of Advent and Christmas reading is one of my personal favorites.

The Last Straw is a story about a grumpy, proud old camel, Hoshmakaka.  He is given the job of carrying the gifts of the three wise kings to the newborn baby Jesus.  But, he’s a grumpy camel and frequently complains about “my joints, my gout, my sciatica.”  On the other hand he has an image of a strong camel to convey to his friends so he continues to accept gift after gift to carry.  In the end, a poor little child wants him to carry a tiny piece of straw to Jesus for his bed.  Reluctantly Hoshmakaka agrees, and finds himself transformed and freed when he finally gets to the manger.

Fredrick H. Thury did a great job capturing the personality of the camel and communicating it for young listeners.  The story is engaging and humorous alike.  Of course it uses the traditions of the Christmas story but doesn’t go into details about the name of the baby.  It is put very simply:

“Then, from the humble manger, a tiny hand reached out and touched Hoshmakaka.  His pain seemed to disappear.  He could no longer feel his burden.  Hoshmakaka whispered to the baby, ‘Hosanna from Hoshmakaka.  Accept these gifts kindly.  They come from far and wide, brought by a beast who once acted blindly.'”

The illustrations are bold watercolors by Vlasta van Kampen.  I love the look of the camel, very realistic, but at the same time something very human about his facial features.  The kids love watching the pile on Hoshmakaka’s back getting higher and higher as the story goes on.

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