Author: Cathy Gilmore
Illustrator: Jeanie Egolf
Publisher: Perpetual Light Publishing
Age Range: 3 – 8
Continuing the Tiny Virtue Heroes series, we meet Amel the Camel in this latest book from Cathy Gilmore and Jeanie Egolf. Amel introduces us to his owner, the wise King Balthazar who is heading off to follow a bright star and meet the newborn king. The story of the three wise men meeting newborn Baby Jesus is told here in a fresh and engaging way.
We begin with Amel telling us that this will be his very first journey. He sets the scene and as readers we join in his excitement. King Balthazar is presented as a friendly and caring soul who has read in the stars that a new king has been born. Throughout the story, Amel notices that King Balthazar is indeed a wise and discerning man. Amel himself of course, is learning the value of wisdom as he clomps his way along on his first journey and closely watches King Balthazar.
Jeanie Egolf’s illustrations are delightful as usual. She captures the personalities and emotions of each of the characters. As we turn each page, a smaller “peep-hole” shows the events of Jesus birth unfolding as King Balthazar’s long caravan progresses on its journey. That “peep-hole”, sort of like looking through a hole in the fence, is a great way of telling the dual story of Jesus’ birth and the wise men’s journey across a long, long dessert.
At journey’s end, the wise Kings and their camels each bow down low to the newborn King. Gifts are left, and Amel explains to the reader how each of us has been given the gift of wisdom that grows through “love, prayer and sacrifice.”
Readers are then given the example of a real Saint – Saint Francis who exercised great wisdom and found hidden spiritual treasures in poverty and simplicity. We are then asked to pray for Europe. I love these Tiny Virtue Heroes books because there is so much more to them than a simple story. Children will be introduced to a new Saint and guided to pray for people somewhere in the world.
You will love the excited Amel who is full of enthusiasm and wants to learn as much as he can from King Balthazar. The highlight for me is Jeanie Egolf’s gorgeous characterization. The book is bright, colourful and engaging – a real winner. I highly recommend!
You can read my Virtue Heroes reviews HERE.
You can purchase Wisdom Finds a Way HERE.
Homeshool and Teacher Ideas.
Let’s learn all about wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience – which children don’t have a lot of.
Cathy Gilmore approaches this problem by creating Amel who recognizes his master’s wisdom and watches him closely in order to learn.
How do we teach children to watch and wait – Have a read of this: https://www.calvary-academy.com/single-post/2017/01/09/4-ways-to-teach-wisdom-to-your-children The writers of this article suggest reading stories that have wise characters in them. Some examples I can think of are:
Mary Poppins, Nanny McPhee, are wise women. Gandalf, Yoda and Albus Dumbledore. Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda.
- Discuss how each of these characters is WISE. (They know more than us, they are generous with their love and time, they guide us, they want what is good for us…)
Who else was wise – from the bible Naomi, Samuel, Abraham, Mary?
- Choose one of these people from the Bible and read through their story (a children’s Bible will suffice).
- Discuss what made these characters WISE. (Faith in God, submitting to the will of God, prayer, following the rules, taking care of others…)
“A wise and noble hero is hidden inside each child”.
- Discuss, draw, write out how each child can become a “wise and noble hero”.
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