The Story of the Wisemen (Book Review and Giveaway)

  • Author: Patricia A. Pingry
  • Illustrator: Alice Buckingham
  • Publisher: Worthy Kids
  • Dimensions: 6.05 x .65 x 6.5 in.
  • On-Sale Now (The publisher website has links to purchase from various retails, including Target and Walmart)
  • Synopsis: A 24-page read-aloud board book, Pingry’s latest release follows the wisemen on their journey to meet the Christ child.

Scripture Connection

The narrative follows the account of the shepherds and the wisemen, as described in Matthew 2.

Spiritual Themes

In accordance with the biblical narrative, I think that a key theme in the story is the kingship of Jesus. We see Herod’s indignation because of it!

What I Liked

From what I can tell, this is a faithful account of the Bible story. In fact, it encouraged me to examine the Christmas story for myself, due to a detail that I had wrong in my head. I imagined the wisemen clustered around the manger (thanks, Little Drummer Boy / every nativity scene), but they actually arrived at the house where Jesus and His parents were staying. (The story feature the “traditional” three wisemen.)

Along a similar line, extra-textual details were explanatory, not extrapolative (say that five times fast!). For instance, “they packed chests and loaded camels.” Obviously, this isn’t an actual sentence from the Bible story, but it’s a perfectly reasonable inference, given the way people would have traveled at that time and in those parts.

The author uses descriptive language that both builds vocabulary and conveys meaning in an interesting way. Herod doesn’t merely “say” things. He “yell[s]” and “bellow[s],” much to the discomfit of his historians, who merely “whisper” in response.

Illustrations

The illustrations were cute, colorful and a bit cartoonish— definitely befitting of a board book.

I appreciated that the characters weren’t a bunch of white men and women, because this is sometimes how Western society presents people from the Bible. The wisemen also seemed to represent three distinct cultures, as they each wore different colors and styles of clothing.

I also like the artiste’s use of curves and geometric shapes, such as the columns and textiles in Herod’s palace. Most striking to me was the illustration of the star in the final panel, which actually looks like the moon!

Recommendation Status

This is an excellent little nativity story for young children. Because of the close adherence to the biblical text, I really feel that this could actually be used in the same way a children’s Bible would be used. It tells the story in a way that will make sense to children and I think the pictures really help to deepen understanding, as well.

I could also see this book incorporated into a family’s advent traditions.

…and Giveaway!

Woo hoo! With thanks to the publisher, I am so excited to announce my first ever Giveaway! For your chance to win a copy of this adorable little board book, please comment with the title of one of your favorite Christmas books/stories.

You can also receive an additional entry by commenting on my Instagram post.

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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