The Little Drummer Boy
Ezra Jack Keats
We’ve been a bit light on book reviews lately, I know, but I’m hoping to make it up to all of you faithful readers with five posts this week! Yep, that’s right: come back every day through Friday for reviews of my newest favorite Christmas books. Sound like a deal? Advent has been busy this year, so it will be a small miracle if I can pull it off, but I’m very eager to share the stack of books sitting next to me right now so I’m going to give it my best shot.
The first book in line this week is Ezra Jack Keats’ The Little Drummer Boy, which became a favorite of mine over a year ago when I discovered it on our library’s shelves. It fits perfectly alongside our other Advent and Christmas books because of its artwork as well as its thematic content.
If you’re familiar with Keats’ more famous books like The Snowy Day or Whistle for Willie you already know the appeal of his artwork and how his characters easily engage young children. Paired with the Christ-honoring lyrics to “The Little Drummer Boy” it’s a winning combination! In between lots of rum-pa-pum-pums there’s a powerful message awaiting young readers (and singers):
I have no gift to bring
That’s fit to give the King…
I played my drum for him
I played my best for him
Then he smiled at me, me and my drum
This carol really has it all: Baby Jesus is the King and he deserves our worship. We ought to joyfully offer him the very best of what we have, even if it seems like a small token, and he is greatly pleased when we do so. When I read this book to my daughter I find myself drawn into the little boy’s story. I feel his momentary sadness when he thinks he has nothing to give and then I share his delight when he realizes he does have something to give the Christ child. As I turn the last page I always find myself thinking about the nature of worship and about what I have that I can offer to Christ. The Little Drummer Boy is definitely a book I want my children to know and love, and I bet you’ll feel the same way.
Don’t forget to drop by tomorrow for a review of another beautiful and theologically rich Christmas book!