Book Review—The Giving Manger

Part of a boxed set, this new book encourages giving gifts to Jesus at Christmas by serving and helping others.

As Christmas approaches, Anne and Ben learn there will be more gifts than usual this holiday season. They are surprised, saddened, and a bit angry to discover that doesn’t mean more gifts for them, but gifts of love and service to others.

Each kind deed means another piece of straw added to the small, empty wooden manger Father has carved.

With Mother setting the example, Anne and eventually Ben try out the new giving plan and discover the joy it brings. And on Christmas morning, Mother gives them a carved baby Jesus to place in the manger now filled with straw for Him to lie on.

Older children may be intrigued by the faceless people in the cut-paper illustrations; I’m not sure young children will respond as well. The family in the story is a poor family with children who normally receive only one homemade gift each, which may amplify the message to children more affluent if they are guided to think about it.

At the back of the book are service suggestions for children, teens, and families, plus “Manger Memories,” a place to record your family’s service through the years.

The Giving Manger
written by Allison Hottinger, illustrated by Emily King
published by WorthyKids (2020)
hardcover picture book, 32 pages, 10.47 x 3.23 x 10.08 inches
Boxed set includes book, manger, straw, and baby Jesus figure

Making God’s wonders known to the next generation,

– Diane

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