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Nathan's Story Review by Dawn Huffmaster and Hillary HarmMichael J. McHugh
Great Light Publications
422 S. Williams Avenue
Palatine, IL 60074
Nathan's Story, by Michael J. McHugh, is a wonderful retelling of the biblical story that was told to King David by the prophet Nathan, regarding the rich man and the poor man. When the rich man receives a visitor he is trying to impress, he takes something very special from his neighbor, the poor man, in order to do so. When the king finds out what the rich man has done, he insists that he repay the poor man beyond what was taken. Only then does the rich man realize what he has really done, and receives an understanding of what loving his neighbor truly means.
Nathan's Story is recommended for ages 3-7, and intended to be read in storybook fashion. This book is 48 pages in length, although there are few words on each page, and contains wonderful full-color illustrations to go along with each scene. The book is available as a hardcover only, and the foreword contains some scripture references to go over with your child before reading the story, to help them make the connection between what the Bible teaches about loving one's neighbor, and what they are about to hear. The book is also set up in six short chapters, which coincide with teaching suggestions found at the back of the book. Each teaching suggestion starts with a scripture reading and then focuses on the main truth or Biblical principle from each chapter.
I found this to be a great storybook that is wonderful for any occasion, and my family enjoyed hearing this story very much. I was able to use the teaching suggestions with my children to help them better understand why each character in the story made the choices that they did, and what happened because of their choices. They were able to take that teaching to heart and realize that the choices they make affect others, either positively or negatively and how showing God's love to others will always be the best choice to make. I highly recommend this book, and consider it a treasure to our collection.
Nathan's Story is something unique in children's books. It is both a picture book that illustrates for children the sin of coveting, and a teaching tool for parents.
The first part of the book is a simple, illustrated version of the story Nathan told King David in 2 Samuel. It is divided into chapters, but a parent can easily read the story through in one sitting. The reading level of the story is simple enough that the average 2 nd grader should be able to read the story independently.
McHugh's telling of "Nathan's Story" is not a literal retelling of the story in Scripture. McHugh adds many details to personalize the poor man and his family, as well as the rich man. This is not done in a distracting manner, nor does it appear to contradict Scripture.
The second half of the book is a teaching tool for the parents. For each chapter of the story, McHugh includes additional Scripture to read with your child, and a short reading for the parent. This is not something to be read aloud to the child. The reading provides talking points for the parent as they re-read or discuss the story with their child.
In our home, we read the story in its entirety one day, and followed that by reading the interaction between Nathan and King David from the Bible. On subsequent days we slowly worked our way through the devotional readings and supplemental Scripture verses.
I thoroughly enjoyed McHugh's book, and wish he would write more in this style. McHugh's devotional reading encourages parents to focus on the heart issue of sin, not merely the outward behavioral displays we see in our children.