In God's Gift, Christian and his sister Mary believe they get more presents at Christmas. However, Jacob and Jeremiah believe they get more presents on Hanukkah. The children learn that Christmas and Hanukkah are about celebrating the gift God has given to His children. It's not about how many presents are under the tree at Christmas or the eight days of presents for Hanukkah. It's about God's provision for those He loves. God gives the gift of the Messiah to the Christians and the gift of Light to the Jews. The true gift from God is learned in this colorful holiday story!
Sea turtles Christian and his sister Mary are at the "coralhood" (because it's underwater, instead of neighborhood) playground with their starfish friends Jacob and his brother Jeremiah. They start out having an animated conversation about their anticipation for their respective upcoming holiday festivities -- Christian and Mary are from a Christian home while Jacob and Jeremiah are Jewish -- but the conversation quickly turns heated. Before long, all the kids are arguing about who has the better celebration and who gets more presents each year.
The fight is broken up and all the kids go home that night to vent to their parents about what was said by the other children. Shocked that their children could be so off the mark on understanding the true meaning of the holiday season, all the parents are inspired to bring the kids together for a lesson in the real "reason for the season". Jacob and Jeremiah's parents invite Christian and Mary to their Hanukkah celebrations to hear the stories behind the reason for the menorah, prayers and ceremonies. Likewise, Christian and Mary's folks invite Jacob and Jeremiah over to hear the Nativity story and observe the tree decorating tradition. Through observing the religious traditions of their friends, the sea turtles and the starfish all learn that it's not about the presents at all! Presents are nice, but they're just meant to be symbolic. The true purpose is remembering to honor each person with love, generosity, compassion and charity.
Once again, author Lee Ann Mancini nails it with her now trademark technique of using a charming underwater world of relatable young characters to teach timeless lessons in morals and values that will surely set little readers on the right path toward growing up to be beautiful, stand-up people of admirable character. In this timely holiday addition, Mancini reminds readers to remember not to be all-consumed with counting presents but to instead take time to humbly acknowledge, appreciate and honor the family, friends and blessings already around you on a daily basis. The fact that this story, right from page 1, offers inclusive illustrations and storyline featuring both Christian crosses / Christmas trees and Jewish Star Of David / dreidel / yarmulke (or kippah) references makes this a wonderful gift idea for those who observe either Christmas OR Hannukah!
Readers who have been following this series from the start will get a kick out of seeing past featured Sea Kids -- such as Freddy Octopus from Fast Freddy and Melissa Blowfish from What A Bragger! -- in the background of a few of the illustrations. Also look for the artwork by the front door of Jacob's house and you'll see it's the cover art from I'm Not Afraid! (Sea Kids #3).
FTC Disclaimer: BookCrash.com & GLM Publishing kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book with a request that I might check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own.