Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The Sparkle Box - A Review
Written by Jill Hardie
Illustrated by Christine Kornacki
Hardcover with jacket, 10 x 10, 32 pages, with a fold out sparkle box included!
Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to their holiday. The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace. Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.
At a very early age, illustrator Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children's books began to take shape. She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming café in New Haven, Connecticut.
About the book:
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift, a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.
I bet that I'm not the only one who feels as if the holiday season has been sprung upon us. As my mind has been swirling with lists of things that need to get done, I was all too happy to have a great new Christmas book to review!
What a beautiful, early Christmas present! This hardcover, 32 page children's book is simply lovely. The book jacket features rich and colorful illustrations, including a glittery Sparkle Box, which of course, is the theme of this story.
The book opens with young Sam enthusiastically getting his list ready for Christmas. While snuggled up on the couch one evening, he notices something special decorating the mantel. He inquires about the sparkly box, but all his mom will reveal is that it is special, but needs to be filled before they can open it.
The days pass as they move closer to Christmas. He watches as his parents serve the community in various ways. They collect blankets and food for those that have neither. Once in a while, Sam asks his mom and dad if it's time to open the box yet. They patiently tell him to wait a little bit longer.
Soon, Sam has the opportunity to serve someone in need for himself. He begins to understand in a new way, what it is to help others.
Finally, the long awaited day approaches, Christmas Day! As they finally open the mysterious little box, Sam discovers that it isn't what he expected. There is no physical gift, but lots of slips of paper. As he looks closer, he sees all of the acts of love that he and his family have participated in, written down.
What are these? As his parents explain that these are gifts to Jesus, he slowly begins to see how serving others in Jesus' name, is serving Jesus. And Sam finds out that that is the very best gift of all!
Well, simply put, this is a beautiful book, in its text, as well as in illustration. It's been a wonderful read aloud for our girls, who took turns reading.
I don't have to tell you about the ways that commercialism has taken over, and I treasure good reminders of the True Reason for the season. This story provides great ideas for your own family to give to Jesus this Christmas season. Better yet, the book also includes a fold up Sparkle Box that you can put together and set out in a prominent place as you fill it up. What a nice way to stay centered.
Our family has done something similar in giving a gift for Jesus, but what I like about the Sparkle Box, is that it stays out for the season, and you fill it as you go. Getting the kids involved is an effective way to keep them excited about learning to have a giving attitude. So we're putting our box out, and we'll all add to in these weeks leading up to the big day. What will we add? There are so many opportunities around us. There is Operation Christmas Child, Salvation Army, Angel Tree, and world Vision to name few. What will your family do this holiday season?
Now you can get a FREE copy of this book for your own. The publisher has generously offered to give away this story, and all you need to do is follow me, and leave me a comment telling how you will fill your Sparkle Box. Easy, yes? You have until Wednesday, November 27, 2013 to submit, so do it now :)
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/49762666
Author Video: https://vimeo.com/49763494
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."