Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Other Wise Man

Every Christmas I look for the new Christmas books. There are always a couple. Unfortunately the new ones are not always the best ones. I found a book a few years ago that still holds up and since it was never a blockbuster it maybe new to you.

The Fourth King: The Story of the Other Wise Man
By Ted Sieger
For Ages 4 - 10
          "The Fourth King" is a wonderful fable about a forgotten wise man that reminds us all about the true meaning of Christmas. Rated 4.75 (Christmas, Morality tale)
          Whatever moniker you know them by -- the three kings, the magi or the wise men -- you know there were only three. They carried gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give as gifts to the baby Jesus. Based on the short story, "The Other Wise Man" by Henry Van Dyke, this tale is about King Mazzel, a fourth wise man who was late to Bethlehem. He started out to meet up with his friends Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar at the edge of the desert. Unfortunately for Mazzel a series of crises came up. First their was a nomad girl stranded in a sand storm. Then a lost caravan of merchants, enslaved children and soldiers killing children in Bethlehem. What is Mazzel to do? He make the morally correct decision each and every time even though he knows it may set his journey back. When he arrives in Bethlehem Mazzel sees a young family fleeing the city and distracts the soldiers so they can get away. Upon arrival at the empty stable, Mazzel believes he is too late until the voice of God speaks to him and reveals that he was with Mazzel all along.
          Sieger's fun and vibrant illustrations keep the energy levels high as story's pacing begins to drag. It is a little long for a picture book, but the story is entertaining and well worth the read. This delightful Christmas tale reminds us all about the true meaning of Christmas.

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