Ishtar's Odyssey and the Christmas Journey Storybook -- Advent and Christmas Book Reviews

 Disclosure: Kregel Publications sent me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

As someone who likes to focus on one holiday before the next, I try not to share Christmas too early. However I am seeing it everywhere and this year I have some great books and DVDs to share with you. I decided to start with a great Advent book and a fun Christmas story book. I am always trying to bring our focus to the story of Jesus and not the commercialism that Christmas has become. These books are two great ones for doing this.

Ishtar's Odyssey by Arnold Ytreeide, is a book about a young prince living in Amaranth. During his astrology lesson he sees a new star--the Star of Bethlehem. His father and uncles gather and plan and soon they are embarking on the long journey to welcome the newborn king of the Jews. Each day has a story and a lesson. As Ishtar goes through this adventure he discovers new things and learns much. Each lesson is tied into a lesson about God at the end of the night's reading. Hazel is constantly asking me to read more and not stop at one night's worth of reading. She loves this book and I must admit so do I!! This is a perfect way to prepare your family for the holiday. We highly recommend it.

 From a young age Hazel liked to act out the story of Christmas with various sets that we made. (At one point her version had room at the inn.) The Christmas Journey Storybook by Juliet David and Simon Abbott is the perfect "book" to do this with. When you untie the ribbon holding it closed you encounter a yellow envelope labeled "Play Figures."
As you read the story it is a pop-up with very few words.

 It starts with the angel visiting Mary and/or Joseph, then goes to the long journey, the inn, the shepherds, the magi, and the stable. On the back of the pop-up pages are a bit of information of the story for that scene.

 Then the really exciting thing is that the pop-up pages open up to form a big playmat to act out the story and the play figures can be moved throughout the story.

  Hazel loves playing with it!! She uses the figures or she uses other toys. It is such a fun way to let children experience the Christmas story in their own way.

 All of the pop-ups have the people in them as well, but you can add and make the play figures move as the characters would in real life. It is so much fun and seeing the full stable is really neat as well. When I took the picture a wiseman had arrived.

 So if your child is like mine or if you want a child to experience the religious side of Christmas this is a must have book. It reinforces the story so well. 

That is our start of Christmas. Stay tuned for some more fun Christmas products and projects!!