This review is part of a series I’m doing about different Advent/Christmas books and resources. Some are Advent activity books/packs to do with children, advent readings or Christmassy books. New signups for my Newsletter will have a chance of winning a wonderful Advent book by author Sarah Tummey, Christmas: God’s Promise Kept.
This is an Advent Story book to read with children.
Jotham’s Journey is a storybook where the storyline is divided over advent. Each day, you read a bit of the story, which often ends on a great cliffhanger. There is something to think about at the end of each chapter as well.
Jotham is a young boy, living at the time of the birth of Jesus. He gets separated from his family and is taken in by a band of travellers. Trying to get back to his family, he meets all kinds of characters, some helpful, some not so helpful…
Arnold Ytreeide, the author, has done a great job in spreading the story out over so many days. Jotham is a lovely character, a young boy, so he speaks to the children’s imagination. The story has him meet the shepherds, the wise men (!) and many others. Jotham’s Journey weaves in some historical and Biblical knowledge as well as how the culture was at the time.
Jotham’s Journey takes a reasonable time to read, but the story is gripping. Some of the chapters might be tricky for younger children, although some of my children don’t handle violence well either. There are some scary parts where my children didn’t think he was going to make it… Jotham’s adventure eventually leads him to the stable where Jesus is born, ending in a lovely way, bringing the story to a wonderful conclusion.
Arnold Ytreeide has brought together lots of life lessons as well, and it’s great to learn alongside Jotham about trusting God, being wise and patient… The story can get a little contrived, but that’s to be expected as it needs to make it across 24 days. My children didn’t seem to have a problem with that at all. Even when we read Jotham’s Journey for the second or the third year, they’re still begging to read the story!
There are more books in the series. Jotham’s Journey can be bought in bookshops and online. It’s not cheap, but I found with my children, they’re happy to read it again! I suppose the following year, you could have it out for them, and they could read it for themselves as a chapter book.
Jotham’s Journey doesn’t involve G&G (Glitter and Glue) so it makes for an easier activity. The first year we struggled, as my children didn’t do the sitting-down-and-listen-to-a-story thing. That has improved, making Jotham’s Journey more fun to read together. There is no preparation, although if you’re worried about the scarier parts, you might want to have a quick peek ahead… I loved the tension throughout the book, and reading a little part each day (although occasionally, we had to read in catch-up mode, which was fine too!).
I’m simply reviewing this book as part of my Advent Series. These views are my personal views.