Publisher: Worthy Kids (Hachette Book Group)
Age Range: 6 – 9
This book is part of an entertaining series of books that follow the adventures of Peter and Mary, who travel back in time and visit different Bible stories. This is only the second book I have read from the series, and I really enjoyed it! Peter and Mary are transported back in time and actually meet Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. They also spend some time with the shepherds and the wise men. Unfortunately, they also have a few altercations with a nasty Roman commander, and King Herod.
The books are well written with different characters having their own unique personalities. The Inn keeper is grumpy, the shepherd boy is enthusiastic but lacking in confidence, Joseph and Mary are friendly and gentle people. Author, M.J. Thomas does a great job of creating characters that are engaging and fun to read about. Kids will relate to Peter and Mary as they get tired from all of their walking or wonder when their rumbling tummies will be fed again.
The story is very simple to read which will broaden the appeal of this book. I can imagine parents or grandparents reading this story to children in an afternoon or over the course of a few evenings. Hank, the dog will be a favourite for children. And little baby Jesus, smiling at the children, is presented as the perfect baby.
Peter and Mary scoot about Bethlehem involving themselves in the unfolding adventure as the Magi arrive and seek out the newborn king. Excitement builds as Joseph and Mary quickly leave town and the children have to make sure the Roman commander does not know where they went. Like the previous review I wrote for the first book of this series, I need to be clear that the stories are not specifically Catholic. There is nothing specifically ‘un-Catholic’ about them. I need to mention though, that the children recognize the Roman commander as Satan and name him as such. Of course, this is not actually written in scripture but picks up on the evil essence of King Herod and the Roman soldiers. The murder of the Holy Innocents is not included in the story.
So, the choice is yours. Ultimately this is a fictitious account of what it would be like for two children to be involved in the unfolding events of the first Christmas. Children will enjoy reading it – it is fun, exciting, and interesting. Eventually Peter and Mary solve a puzzle that then allows them to return home. Archangel Michael is also present in the story and helps them escape from a scary situation.
I recommend this book – I’ve been impressed with both books that I have read in this ever growing series by M.J.Thomas. Ultimately good triumphs over evil, and the children find their way home. So, what’s not to like?
You can purchase the book HERE.
Check out my review of The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning HERE.
Author, M.J.Thomas noticed that there are very few Christian books aimed at this age group so he decided to write his own. I can relate to that! I also became frustrated at a lack of books for Catholic children, especially this age group. As M.J. Thomas said, children are at the height of their imagination during these years so why aren’t we taking advantage of that? We need more people writing these stories – so go to it!
Radio interview: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=872445132912549
Homeschool and Teaching Ideas
- I’d use this book as part of wide reading about Christmas. Check out my Christmas reviews HERE.
- Do you have access to binoculars or a telescope – why not pull it out and encourage children to search out the night sky in December. Why not try the app that allows you to point your phone at the sky and discover the name of the constellation you are pointing at. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/g26089673/best-stargazing-apps/
- Google ‘map of Bethlehem for kids’ and identify the features that Peter and Mary find on their own map (Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, hills and valleys, roads) In which direction is Egypt? Why not encourage children to create their own map and turn it into a scroll.
- Three wise men: read some other children’s stories I’ve reviewed about the three wise men HERE.