3 little Miracles

3 little Miracles

Sunday, December 20, 2009

26 Children's Christmas Books in 25 Days - Day #20

I am so glad that I stumbled across today's book in my boys Scholastic Club order form from school.  Today we are reading Follow the Star by Rachel W. N. Brown, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri (originally published as Small Camel Follows the Star).  Although this book is a smidge confusing for my 4 year old because baby Jesus isn't a baby, he is a toddler in the story (which of course is biblically accurate), this book is wonderful because it sticks very true to the Wise Men's journey to see the baby King (with the exception of the talkign camel, Ha).

The story is of a young camel that is owned by Balthazar (one of the three Wise Men).  One evening a bright star appears in the sky, and Balthazar tells his servents, "this is the great star he has been waiting for, prepare for a journey, groom the camels and pack for a long journey across the desert."  Small camel watches the servents prepare the other camels for the journey full expecting that he is too small to make the trip and will have to stay home.  BUT, to small camels surprise, Balthazar comes out of the house dressed in fine traveling clothes and carries a small bundle over to small camel.  "I don't want you to miss this important journey.  I think you are big enough to carry one special package" Balthazar says.

The caravan headed into the desert and the star shone brightly ahead of them the whole journey.  Balthazar's caravan stopped in a small town the next morning where Balthazar met two of his friends, Melchior and Gaspar.  Balthazar and his two friends huddle over their scrolls and talk about the beautiful star . . . . . and a baby king!  In the evening the camels are reloaded and two additional packages are added to small camels hump.  The larger caravan travels for several months, so long that small camel has lost count of the days and nights they have been traveling. 

At last the caravan comes to a village, but small camel is confused, he does not see the palace where the baby King is supposed to be.  Balthazar leads the caravan through the streets of the town to a very small house.  "Oh Mama, there must be a mistake" says small camel.  "This is a poor man's house.  Surely a king wouldn't live here."  Balthazar takes small camel's lead and takes him into the courtyard of the small house where a young woman named Mary sits holding a beautiful child - little Jesus.  Small camel watches as Balthazar takes down the small bundles tied to his hump and opens them on a blanket spread before the child. 

Small camel forgets how tired he is from the long journey when he sees baby Jesus bouncing and clapping on Mary's knee when he sees the presents layed before him.  He didn't know why the house wasn't a palace.  He didn't know why the baby wasn't wearing a crown.  But small camel knew this baby was a king.  "I am pround of you."  Balthazar whiperes to small camel before they go, "You have done a very good job carrying those precious gifts."  Small camel grows to be strong and tall, but over his life no journey he takes, is as special as when he carried the presents for Baby Jesus.

Wonderful story, this is the first that I have read in children's books that is from the perspective of the Wise Men following the star based on long told prophecies and the firs that I have seen in children's books that tells of meeting a child Jesus and not a newborn.  Great story, beautiful pictures and the kids love the character of Small Camel.


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