Friday, November 20, 2015

{Review} Ishtar's Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide

Advent: the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and 
observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting

Ever since my children were small, I have enjoyed celebrating Advent. It gives us a chance to slow down and enjoy the season as we focus on Christ's birth. Quite a few years ago I discovered Arnold Ytreeide's books. My boys have loved them. 

They were excited to learn that a new book in the series was just published this year, Ishtar's Odyssey. I'm a bit of a rebel and we don't typically read this at night. The books are intense so if you have very young children or those sensitive to intense scenes, you may wish to read this during the daytime or wait until they are a bit older. 

All of the books follow a young child (typically boys) on an adventure. All of the books also tie in to Christ's birth in some way. Historical facts are scattered throughout, but obvious literary license is also taken. 

From the back cover:
Ishtar, the ten-year-old son of a Persian wise man, will soon join a caravan following that star across the desert. The slightly spoiled prince would just as soon stay in the predictable comfort and safety of the palace, but slowly he learns that there's much to see and do, and learn in this world that can't be experienced with tutors. Disasters and dangers challenge his courage and confidence but Ishtar finds strength he never knew he had. He eventually meets Jotham, Bartholomew, and Tabitha as he follows his father and uncles in their search for a newborn king.

The first book in the series is Jotham's Journey followed by Bartholomew's Passage and then Tabitha's Travels. While each book stands well alone, Ytreeide does tie in previous characters in each subsequent book.

At the end of each book is a list of dates for Advent. The newest book goes all the way until 2081. Each chapter also lists what week and day it should be read in order to finish on Christmas Day. At the end of each chapter there is also a short devotional that ties into what was read. 

My boys love these books. My 11 year-old in particular enjoys them. As he says, "That's a cliffhanger! Keep reading!"

We were very glad to add this book to our Christmas reading collection. 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

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