Book Reviews

Book Review: The King of Christmas (FatCat), Kennedy/Hains

What are we looking forward to with Christmas? Presents? Time with family? To hear Christmas music and feel the Christmas spirit? Sure, we know Jesus is “the reason for the season,” but what do we do with that? How many times can we hear the Christmas message without thinking it all sounds so repetitive? 

Natasha Kennedy—illustrator of the FatCat series and Todd Hains—editor at Lexham Press, have come together to make a FatCat Christmas book where all God’s children search for Jesus. It begins with the three Magi seeing a bright star in the distance and longing to find the King of Christmas. Working from the truths we find in Psalms 19, 148, and 8, the Magi search for Jesus in the heavens, the sky, land, and water. But since “his majesty is above the earth and the heavens,” he is not found. They search among people, the rich and powerful, among merchants, and among religious rulers. But he is not among them either. 

Yet many whom the Magi meet—both animals and people—follow them in order to greet the true King of Christmas. By the time the Magi find Jesus, they have a slew of people—a shepherd boy, a scribe, a slave girl, a Roman centurion, and more—with them eager to greet the true King. At least one person (or animal) from every area they walk begins to follow them, so keep your eyes peeled. Not only that, but FatCat is hiding on each page (or spread) throughout the book. Finding FatCat brings a smile to children’s faces as they search for him and see his bright yellow eyes looking at them (perhaps reminding my own boys of their cats). They enjoy seeing some of the silly places where FatCat shows up (like inside a barrel of fish). 

On almost every page you will find the same question, “Is the King of Christmas there?” Children thrive on predictability. The book’s repetitive questions draw children in and help them think through the questions. At first it is easy. No, he is not in the sky, or among the fish in the sea, or the beasts, and I guess since he wasn’t there he’s not among the rich (they begin to see the pattern). Then of course, when you arrive at the birth, Jesus is there! Finally, a Yes! But his story doesn’t stop there. In Matthew 2 the Magi asked Herod where the “King of the Jews” was born (2:2). When he was hanging on the cross, a sign is placed above Jesus stating that he is “King of the Jews” (27:37). The King of Christmas is found there too. But… is he found in the grave? Now children must think. Is it No? Yes? Well, the picture certainly helps as is shows everyone looking into an empty grave.

Where is Jesus found? 

Todd and Tasha help both children and adults see where to find Jesus today. He promises to be with us always (Matt 28:20).  He is found in the Word (Mark 16:15), in baptism (Matt 29:19), the Lord’s supper (Matt 26:26–28), and in the forgiveness of sins (John 20:22–23). 

Recommended?

The King of Christmas presents the gospel message in a very simple way, helping us see that our humble king came to earth in the most unexpected way. Many of us would like to be among the rich and the powerful, having money to buy whatever we want, especially for Christmas. But that’s not where he showed up. He came to us in a manger. Many would expect a ruler who can crush his enemies. But that’s not what he did. He was crushed for us. All who die remain locked in their graves. But that’s not what he did. He rose again. Many want to see the spectacular, to be dazzled and amazed, to meet God in signs and wonders. But that’s not what he does. He meets us in a book, his Word, and through the love of other believers as we meet and gather on Sundays. 

The book ends with a helpful prayer guide for families as we finish the Advent season and enter into Christmas. After that Todd provides some of the biblical reasoning behind a few of the scenes in this book, some of which I have referenced already. 

Lagniappe

  • Series: FatCat
  • Author: Todd Hains
  • Illustrator: Natasha Kennedy
  • Reading Level: 4–8 years
  • Hardcover: 44 pages
  • Publisher: Lexham Press (October 5, 2022)

Buy it on Amazon or from Lexham Press

Disclosure: I received this book free from Lexham Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

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