As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m a fan of Paul Maier’s books, and am quickly becoming a fan of his children’s books as well.
I already pointed to his trilogy of Old Testament stories; now here is his trilogy of New Testament foundational stories:
The narrative is framed by a contemporary boy, Christopher, asking an adult questions about the incarnation, the resurrection, and then Pentecost. This narrative device allows Maier, a historian, to answer questions that usually don’t appear in such books for kids.
Here is how Maier opens The Very First Christmas, which went on to win a Gold Medallion Award:
Children’s Christmas books are often long on fancy but short on fact. Many of them ignore the central theme of the first Christmas and opt instead for Grimm’s fairly-tale settings, quaint old European towns, or wondrous winter tableaus. The many yuletide stories about dour woodcarvers, sullen cobblers, or Ebenezer Scrooges who are transformed by the spirit of Christmas are certainly heartwarming, even if predictable, but too often the great Source of the “spirit of Christmas” is overlooked. These pages, instead, will seek to return the Christmas to where it belongs.
All three of these are well worth getting. The art is well done—especially in the third volume, where the stoning of Stephen, the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip, and the Philippian jailer are all beautifully pictured.