On the eleventh day of Christmas, my blogger shared with me…
encouragement when we can’t see the plan!
Joshua the spotted lamb was born with one leg that didn’t work right. He has no family, and the other sheep make fun of him. Only Abigail the cow seems on his side with her friendship and her frequent, wise reminders that “God has a special place for those who feel left out.” When the shepherds leave Joshua behind at the stable when they take the rest of the flock to greener pastures, it is almost more than Joshua can take. That night, however, he and Abigail are woken by strangers in the stable…a woman and her newborn child who is shivering in the cold. Unable to do anything else to help, Joshua curls up next to the baby to give him some warmth. After a short while, a man arrives with rags to wrap the baby, and the mother tells Joshua that the baby is Jesus, God’s Son. Suddenly, Joshua’s shepherds stumble in to find Joshua has already met the newborn Savior that the angels told them about out in the fields. Joshua finally understands why his life has been like it was; God had always meant for Joshua to be left behind that day and be there to welcome and warm the newborn king.
Max Lucado is a well-known Christian author of books for both children and adults; his daughters joined him in writing this book. The story is a simple one aimed at readers who have ever wondered at their situations and what God could possibly have planned for them. Very young readers may not yet have had these kinds of questions, but they will still find a sympathetic protagonist in the little crippled lamb who feels left out. The sentences and paragraphs are short with simple vocabulary for easy comprehension. Most of the description is focused on actions and feelings that children can understand.
The illustrations are bordered by a deep blue, textured frame with white and gold interior rim. Each illustration is like a landscape painting featuring the pastoral scenery that a story starring livestock requires. The realistic paintings are bright and inviting, and the large number of farm animals and smiling people make the illustrations accessible for even the youngest readers.
GirlChild’s Reactions: When asked what she thought of this book, GirlChild stroked the picture of the lamb on the cover and cooed, “It was wonderful!” When further pressed, she said that she liked that the lamb and the cow slept in the stable. When pressed even further, she remembered that the lamb snuggled with “Mary’s baby.” This book was apparently very heartwarming to this three-year-old girl as she had an “Aww, how sweet!” expression on her face the whole time she was talking to me about it. And she petted the cover.
This book is probably best for older preschool through early elementary, and it provides plenty of discussion points for parents or caregivers to share with the little ones they love. The message that comes through is that sometimes someone doesn’t see his or her own worth because they’re not seeing through God’s eyes. The crippled lamb in all of us sometimes wonders why we can’t do all the things we want to do or be all the things we want to be, but God has a special plan for each of us, and we are all precious in his sight.