Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book Review: Room for a Little One

Our family loves books. I am not sure if a love for reading is one of those nature or nurture characteristics; it is probably a little of both. My dad loves to read. I never saw him without a book in his hand, books in his car, books at the breakfast table. Whether I inherited that quality, or just learned it by example, I am the same way. I read at least a book a week, and rarely go anywhere without a book shoved in my bag or car - just in case. I am afraid I have passed it along to my son, and my daughter might be doomed for the same destiny, it is too early to tell.

At nursery, my two-year-old son spends his time with the books. At home, he sits for hours reading his books, or being read to. He lugs them all over the house with him, and will ask just about anyone to read to him. When I took him to the children's museum in our town, I lost him for a second, only to look over and one of the workers was sitting with him, reading a book he had found. I was not at all surprised.

So those are my qualifications for writing book reviews: I love books. My kids love books. We rarely buy our children any other kind of present besides books. I am not an expert in children's literature, just a lover of words.

Book Review #1: Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft

We bought this book for my son's first Christmas. What a terrific find! We read it all year. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is so simple. It begins: "Kind ox lay in his stable."

Kind ox encounters several kinds of animals: a dog, a cat, a mouse. They are all invited into the stable, a place of love and devoid of fear. Each time, kind ox tells them: "Come inside, there is always room for a little one here." Finally, tired donkey comes. He carries Mary, and is led by Joseph. They are invited into the stable. And Mary has her baby with the animals all around. It ends, "That cold winter's night, beneath the star's light, a little one came for the world."

The poetic verses are beautiful and capture the spirit of Christ, and the spirit of Christmas. And, my son loves animals, making this book even more enticing.

I usually cry when I read this book. I usually finish with a resolve to be a little more welcoming, a little more loving. And I always love feeling the spirit of that stable, where Jesus was born. Like the birth of the Savior, this story is simple. It is beautiful, and it is poignant. Whether you are two, or thirty-two, you will love Room for a Little One.

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