Small Fry Saturday: Itsy Bitsy Christmas

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.

Advent begins tomorrow, so this week’s pick is:

Title: Itsy Bitsy Christmas
Author: Max Lucado
Illustrator: Bruno Merz
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: September 10, 2013
Source: publisher (giveaway)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“The King has come! Even for a little one like me.”

Do you ever feel like you are too small or too ordinary? That is just how Itsy and Bitsy feel. When these two charming little mice hear that a King is coming to Bethlehem, they set off with great enthusiasm to find Him. Along the way, they are met with discouraging words telling them they are too little and unimportant for any king. Just when Itsy and Bitsy begin to believe that they really aren’t big enough for the new King, they learn that Christ the King has indeed come for everyone.

Crafted by master storyteller Max Lucado, “Itsy Bitsy Christmas” helps children understand God’s great love and know that He sent His Son for all of us–little or big, young or old.

I have to start with a confession: I tend to be a bit distrustful (even cynical) when it comes to books marketed as “Christian.” I usually do a ton of research beforehand, but I took a chance when I entered Meghan Tucker‘s giveaway of Itsy Bitsy Christmas, a new children’s book by Max Lucado.

I was very pleasantly surprised! This story gives children the most basic message of Christmas: “God sent Jesus for us all.” Period. Its simplicity makes Itsy Bitsy Christmas a truly ecumenical book (says this progressive/moderate-to-liberal Christian).

This is probably as close as a Christian author can get to not having a denominational leaning, and I so appreciate that in a children’s book. The most direct theological statement in the entire story is: “God sent [Jesus] to love us, help us, and save us.” Mary and Joseph make an appearance, but they are not named, and there’s no story of Jesus’s birth. Instead, the book focuses on the animals in the stable (two mice in particular) and their quest to find out who is the king who has come to town, and why he would bother with their seemingly insignificant little village.

It’s sweet, it’s funny, and Bruno Merz’s illustrations are incredibly cute. Geared for ages 2-7, this was a huge hit with my 4-year-old! I’m sure we’ll be reading this one often during the Advent/Christmas season.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher after winning a giveaway hosted by Meghan Tucker. There was no obligation to read or review the book; this is my honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.