donkey's little tale book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

For many believers, the birth of Christ changed the world. Into our sinful lives, He brought redemption and salvation. But He did that after entering the world as a helpless baby. Such a monumental event is recorded in history in the Gospels, but so many details are left to the imagination. A poetic version of the Christmas story using rhyming couplets is told in A Donkey’s Little Tale through the eyes of the humble beast that carried Mary into Bethlehem.

One of the things I liked best about this book is the detailed account of the author’s inspiration in the back. She recounts that after reading the Christmas story, she felt frustrated by the lack of personal details regarding Mary and Joseph and their donkey (if they had one). This story was a result of of her meditation on that experience. Her recollections make this simple interpretation of a well known story more interesting. Paired with simple illustrations by Brittany Huskey, that are based on the authors clay sculpted clay figures, this little book invites one to simply ponder anew the Christmas story.

While I appreciate the author’s intent with her poetic writing, it is not my preferred style for a children’s book. The characters of the story are never named. There is is no Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Instead, they are referred to as “the master, the lady and the baby.” Perhaps this is done because it is written from the donkey’s perspective, but that makes this a book suitable only for families that already know about Jesus. Otherwise, it is too vague. Another odd element is a repeated reference to a package that the lady is carrying. She picks it up, and puts it down several times in addition to clutching it tightly. It leads the reader to wonder what this package is that she has brought so far from home. It turns out to be a pillow for the baby. Perhaps I don’t appreciate poetry enough, but the unexplained pillow seemed anticlimactic after it’s repeated references. If it had a more significant meaning, I missed it. All in all, this was a sweet story, but in my opinion, it is lacking many of the elements that capture the power of Jesus’ birth.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Sarah McCubbin is a homeschooling and foster mom in NE Ohio where she resides with her husband and 7 children. In addition to reading great books, she enjoys gardening, traveling and blogging at Living Unboxed.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Ambassador International. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.