A Review of The Donkey in the Living Room Book and Nativity Set by Sarah Raymond Cunningham

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Finding resources to use with little ones that keep Christ central to our Christmas celebration is difficult. The new book by Sarah Raymond Cunningham titled The Donkey in the Living Room: A Tradition that Celebrates the True Meaning of Christmas will be a big help.

The illustrations make the book appropriate for the preschool and early elementary crowd, although I know my older ones will also listen in. For use during the nine days before Christmas through Christmas Day, each double-page spread represents one character in the Christmas story. The instructions suggest that you wrap up figurines from a crèche, opening each one at the beginning of your reading. You can easily use your family nativity set, or purchase the matching box stable and wooden figures that coordinate with the book. (Since our Nativity set is breakable, we chose the coordinating wooden set.)

The text is in sing-song rhyme and there are a few slang phrases (“As Mary’s belly was getting ready to pop . . .”), yet it is still meaningful, accurate, and engaging. Almost as important during this busy season, it has an appropriate amount of reading to do each day, not so much that you may be tempted to skip it, but not so little as to be trite.

I am convinced that my little ones will be enthralled with this new resource and I look forward to continuing the tradition of The Donkey in the Living Room in the years to come.

Bonus!
Coordinate The Donkey in the Living Room with a Christian Christmas reproducible activity guide such as Very, Merry Christmas by Anita Reith Stohs and choose one carol to sing together each day.

9 days before Christmas: Mary
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “The Angel Gabriel Visits Mary”
Sing “What Child is This?”

8 days before Christmas: The Donkey
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “The Road to Bethlehem”
Sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

7 days before Christmas: The Cow
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “No Room”
Sing “Away in the Manger”

6 days before Christmas: The Sheep
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “Christmas Bookmark”
Sing “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

5 days before Christmas: The Shepherd
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “Go to Bethlehem” and “Glad to See Jesus”
Sing “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”

4 days before Christmas: The Angel
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “Joy to the World” (Make an angel); “The Angel’s Song”
Sing “Angels We Have Heard on High”

3 days before Christmas: The Camel
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book page
Sing “The First Noel”

2 days before Christmas: The Wise Men
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “Follow the Star” and “Gifts for the King”
Sing “We Three Kings”

1 day before Christmas: Joseph
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “Off to Egypt” and “Christmas Places”
Sing “Silent Night, Holy Night”

Christmas Day: Baby Jesus
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “Jesus is His Name” and “Christmas Stamp”
Sing “Joy to the World! The Lord is Come”

After Christmas Day: Simeon
Very, Merry Christmas: Activity Book “Looking for Jesus,” “Simeon’s Song of Praise,” “Christmas Crossword Puzzle”

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