Are you looking for a new Christmas book this season? Today I'm reviewing One Small Donkey, by Dandi Daley Mackall. One Small Donkey is a story of the donkey who carried Mary to Bethlehem on that first Christmas night. It is a story about not being the biggest, strongest, or fastest and still being chosen for an important job.
First of all, what I liked. The story was great and so was the message. It reminded me a lot of The Donkey No One Could Ride about another much-underestimated donkey who participated in the first Palm Sunday. How often do we think that we need to do big things or have a certain set of characteristics in order to serve our God? The reality is that, as a certain small sister often reminded us, we can do small things with great love. There are jobs in the kingdom available for anyone who is willing to bring their offering. The illustrations were colorful and pleasing, if a tad child like for my taste.
What I thought could be better. The story was nice and had a singsong rhyme that was easy to read aloud on most pages. On a few, however, it was super awkward. It brought me back to my college poetry class that both rhyme and rhythm are important in poetry! It was like it wanted to be poetic, but fell just a little short.
In the introduction, the author made a special effort to point out that we don't really know Mary rode a donkey as the Bible doesn't tell us that. And then she proceeded to put Mary and Joseph in a stable, which is also not strictly Biblical, and the Star of Bethlehem was already shining before they got there and the shepherds walked to Bethlehem with the donkey. I wouldn't have even noticed these other Biblical inconsistencies if the author hadn't made such an effort to point of the questionability of the donkey. Either follow tradition for traditions sake or follow the Bible for the Bible's sake, but don't do both while bringing special attention to one or the other. Are there really that many people who's faith would be changed (either for their benefit or because they were offended by the inaccuracy) because Mary did or didn't ride a donkey?
Overall, however, I do think this is a fun and enjoyable new perspective on the traditional Christmas story. I wouldn't give it five stars, but I feel confident with a good solid four!
In exchange for an honest review, I received a copy of this title through the Book Look Bloggers Review Program. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.