Monday, March 26, 2012

My First Prayers for Christmas & My First Prayers with Mary

Oops. It looks like I wrote a review for Tiber River over a year ago but never clicked the "Submit" button. I blame baby brain (aka lack of sleep). It was floating around in cyberspace until today. So, since I finally submitted it, it is time to post it here. The catch is that the book is a Christmas book, but the series also has a similar title called My First Prayers with Mary, so today (the transferred Feast of the Annunciation) seems like a good day to share!

So untimely of me! Through the generosity of, I received a copy of My First Prayers for Christmas by Maite Roche. Part of my delay in posting this review is that I wanted to be sure to include my children’s responses, and the book ended up being the perfect Christmas present for the baby.

To me, it is so rare to find quality Catholic children’s literature, much less in board book format. Most religious board books I find are beautifully Christian but not authentically Catholic. This book is just that, and I am thrilled to see there are three other board books in the series put out by Magnificat and Ignatius Press: My First Prayers with Mary, My First Bedtime Prayers, and My First Prayers for My Family.

In this title, there are seven unique prayers, and each one can play a special role in a child’s preparations for and celebration of Christmas. The first prayer is a prayer of anticipation, and it echoes the joy children have in preparing their homes and hearts for Christmas. The next two prayers are of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the birth of Christ. The fourth prayer is appropriate for Christmas Eve, while the fifth is in thanks for the happiness of Christmas Day. Finally, there is a prayer to honor the three wise men, appropriate for the Epiphany, and another to honor the Holy Family on the Feast of the Holy Family.

Such a subtle yet meaningful touch to this book is that each page begins with “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The words are simple and clear, printed in a text that is both bold and clean, spaced and sized perfectly for little eyes. A beginning reader could certainly read the book with only a little help from mom or dad.

The illustrations are done in bright colors, often depicting a family of five with wonderful detail, such as wedding rings and cross necklaces. There is great joy and peace on the faces of everyone depicted, whether it be Mary and Joseph or a cat playing with an ornament. These pictures are delightful to study as you pray the corresponding words for both young and old.

The baby is not quite old enough to fully appreciate board books yet, but he did seem to enjoy looking at the colorful pages. My older children read the prayers together and were inspired by the ease with which they could pray together with the book. My son, an emerging reader, mostly enjoyed looking through the illustrations and seemed to spend quite a bit of time before bedtime one night really soaking in the scenes.

Overall, I am thrilled to find such a quality series for my littlest children! I look forward to bringing this book out next year during Advent to read with my youngest, who will be a toddler more capable of understanding the prayers. I will definitely look for the other titles in the series, as I think they would make wonderful gifts for Easter and Baptism Day! I really do not think you will be disappointed in these treasures, as the care and thought put into them show through in the sincerity of each page.

I wrote this review of My First Prayers for Christmas for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.