You can get one of those Advent calendars with the worst-chocolate-ever but there are better ways to help your kids enter into the season of Advent. Arnold Ytreedie has authored a number of children’s books, including three other Advent devotionals. With Ishtar’s Odyessey he takes families on a journey from Persia to Bethlehem.
Ishtar was a young prince, the son of a wise man. he begins the story as a somewhat sheltered ten-year-old, fearful of life outside the palace walls and he doesn’t like his daily lessons. One night, reviewing the constellations he discovers a new star prophesying the birth of a king to the West. Honored for his discovery, Ishtar is compelled to accompany his father and uncles on a six month journey to pay homage to the new king. Along the way he meets new friends: Jotham, Bartholomew and Tabitha (all characters in Ytreeide’s other Advent devotionals).
Ytreeide weaves his fictionalized tale of the magi’s journey into daily readings for Advent. Each entry ends with a scripture and a short reflection on that part of the story. Ytreeide also suggests foods to enjoy on particular days of the week which correlate with the story and Advent customs to enrich and reinforce what children are learning through the story.
If your kids like stories, this is an interesting and engaging way to help them enter into Advent more fully. At the beginning of the story Ishtar is a pagan (named after the Babylonian goddess of love), at the end of the story he worships Jesus, the Son of the one true God. I give this four stars.
Notice of material connection: I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.