Monday, February 10, 2014

And Then Nicholas Sang & Sweet Song (Ancient Faith Publishing)

I receive over 100 books to review a year. Some are high theology; some are practical books on living a holy life. However, with all the books I'm sent to review, I find the greatest joy in the children's books. Is that weird? Maybe it's the simple, yet beautiful way the faith is portrayed. Maybe, I love the fact that there are so many Catholic and Orthodox options for my son to read and have read to him. Whatever it is, I love these books. So this week, the Children's Corner of my blog is getting TWO days dedicated to it. Not only that, I'm featuring TWO books per day! Today, I'll be reviewing books from Ancient Faith Publishing.

And then Nicholas Sang tell the story of the Trisagion (Thrice Holy) hymn. For those unfamiliar with this hymn, it goes "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us." Tradition says that Constantinople used to suffer from terrible earthquakes. One day while the people were praying for God's mercy, a boy was lifted into heaven, learned the Trisagion, and came back down and taught the people. Then, the earthquakes stopped. Though the boy is not named in tradition, this book names him Nicholas.

In addition to your children reading about this story, they can also read about the original tradition, which I stated above. At the end a glossary is included, which lists a few key terms and tells a brief history of Constantinople and a short biography about the Emperor Theodosius II. The watercolor illustrations will captivate children of all ages, and the story is masterfully told. It's also hardcover, so it will stand up to some abuse that younger kids might put on it. Five stars!

Sweet Song tell the story of a lesser known saint in the West, Saint Romanos the Melodist. For those of you unfamiliar with this saint, he was a young, humble boy who dearly loved the Lord and worshiping the Lord. Unfortunately, he was a terrible singer. (I can relate, as I'm sure many can.) He tried his hardest every time he was called upon to sing in Church, but he was never any good, and the other singers made fun of him. One Christmas Eve, a miracle occurred, and he was able to sing gloriously at the Christmas Vigil. What happened? Buy the book and find out!

The illustrations in this book are darker than one would expect from a children's book. However, that darkness helps create a nice contrast when young Romanos finally is able to sing like he always dreamed. At the end of this book, a whole page is dedicated to more information about St. Romanos including his feast day, October 1st, and interesting facts. For example, some sources say he composed over one thousand hymns. Unfortunately, only 80 are still in existence. If your child loves music, this is the book for them. It's a beautiful story of our faith, so they will learn while reading and not even know it. Pair it with And then Nicholas Sang and build up their library of faith! Five stars.

These books were provided to me for free by Ancient Faith Publishing. If you found these review helpful, click here and here and hit Yes!