Author: Theresa Kiser
Illustrator: Mike Schwalm
Publisher: OSV Kids
Age Range: 3 – 7 years.
I feel like this is a book that was just waiting to be written! Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server is a likeable young lad whose over-the-top enthusiasm will be recognized by many a parent and teacher. And children will relate to Arthur’s frustration and impatience as he waits for the day when he can fulfill his greatest dream – to be an altar server at Mass.
This is the sort of Catholic story book that I love. It is not preachy or complex. It is perfectly pitched to the age range and still promotes a Catholic worldview. The Mass is central to this story. And Arthur’s eagerness to become an altar server will undoubtedly influence children who read this story. I was impressed how Theresa Kiser has included many of the items used in the Mass such as candles, the cross and the incense burner. She also references the sacristy, altar and aisle. Exposure to these names and words is a great introduction to the church and to Mass.
Another stand out feature of this book is the quality of illustration. The cartoon characters are perfectly drawn – the over excited, red headed Arthur races around the pages of this book while the calm and stately Father Cruz smiles encouragingly at Arthur. The colouring used inside the church is gorgeous and evokes feelings of awe and reverence.
The overall production is very good. It is a beautifully designed hardcover, glossy picture book. I like that there is minimal text, with the use of some fun-style font to emphasize poor old Arthur’s clumsiness. Children will lose themselves in the excitement of wondering if Arthur is EVER going to be chosen to be an altar server.
Finally, Father Cruz says that it is Arthur’s desire to serve God that is the most important consideration. So, he finally grants Arthur his wish, and the overjoyed boy is shown on the final page of the story happily serving on the altar.
An added bonus on the final pages teaches children about the priestly garments worn by Father Cruz at Mass. I know that this will be a favourite book for Catholic families and is a must for the “Mass bag”. Highly Catholic, and highly recommended.
You can purchase Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server HERE.