Recommendation: *** (3 stars)
Positives: A clever and beautiful story. I thoroughly enjoyed how the author explored Jesus' family life. While the Bible does not specifically say that Jesus had nephews, we do know that he had brothers and sisters so this is a plausible fiction story.
Negatives: While the author intends for this story to be fictional, she does use biblical elements throughout the story. That being the case, there was an element of the story that bothered me. Twice in the story it is represented that Jesus was not the oldest child of Mary and Joseph. First, Jesus is referred to as "...their little brother..." and secondly when Mary recounts the story of their flight to Egypt she tells Shem that Jesus' brothers were upset because they had to tend the shop for Joseph while they were gone. If any of Jesus' brothers were alive when they fled to Egypt, they certainly weren't old enough to tend a shop. I know these are small details in a fictional story, but when dealing with Scripture, we must be careful to accurately portray what it says even to the smallest detail.
Talking Points: What would it be like to live with a brother who never sinned? Do you think it was hard for Jesus' brothers to live with him? Shem was thankful for his Uncle Jesus, but he also prayed to thank God for the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16 Jesus promises his disciples to send the Holy Spirit and today, all believers have the Holy Spirit living in them. Is this any different than Shem having his Uncle Jesus with him? Talk to your kids about the Holy Spirit and how He is always with Christians. On earth, Jesus could not be everywhere at all times, but we have the Holy Spirit who can teach, help and guide us every moment of the day (John 16:7,13).
Age Level: 3-8 years of age
I received a free copy of this book through the BookCrash program in exchange for this review.