IVP Kids Saint Nicholas, perfect for the young in heart

Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver
Retold and Illustrated by Ned Bustard
Publisher: IVP Kids

At last I have discovered for myself that children’s books are not just for the young. I had heard it said but until now had no personal experience.

Just one book. How can you be sure? Well, if Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver by Ned Bustard is any indication, I have no doubt that other books in this category will afford me the same pleasure and satisfaction.

It is a privilege to read one of the first titles in the new IVP Kids line. I highly recommend it. It’s obvious that the author has labored long and hard over every detail. It’s as close to perfect as humanly possible.

The illustrations are images of hand-carved block prints, expertly drawn and colored―a visual feast! The pictures adorn the left side while directly opposite on the right is large, black type centered on each line. The text is in verses like a poem.

The words tell a story that is easy to follow. The author succeeds in blending history, theology and wonder. It’s all Christ-centered without being preachy.

Immediately, I was moved by Saint Nicholas’ generosity. Through his example the book encourages giving.

Towards the back the Santa myth is introduced and handled as fanciful imagination and not denigrated. I appreciate that the issue is addressed with wisdom.

At 64 this warms my heart. It’s a keeper. I will be happy to read it again along with other forthcoming titles from this line. Regardless of your age, don’t let anyone keep you from enjoying fairy tales and children’s stories. They often reflect a deeper reality and may help us gain a little childlike wonder.

A note from the author on the last page summarizes what is known about Nicholas along with recommended resources for further study.

Bustard describes himself as a graphic designer, a children’s book illustrator, an author and a printmaker. He is the creative director for Square Halo Books, Inc., curator of Square Halo Gallery and creative director for Christians in the Visual Arts. He lists several books in which his artwork can be found.

Michael Dalton