I love Christmas and I love Christmas stories even more. My children and I eagerly wait for the day after Thanksgiving when we can get all of the book out of the attic to read and start putting up all of the Christmas decorations.
Especially the nativity.
I love to set it up and play with it, and move the figures around. I think that’s why Mortimer’s Christmas Manger appeals to me so much. It’s got a cute little mouse, which I love, and it’s about a nativity set that’s being played with, and is the center of Christmas. Who wouldn’t love that?
There’s also quite a few great academic lessons besides the spiritual lessons in there. Let’s take a minute and look at some of them:
Adjective lesson from Mortimer’s Christmas Manger.
Karma Wilson uses some great adjectives in this book. Just on the first page there’s a striking difference as you read the first sentence: “In a big house lived a wee mouse.” Look through the rest of Mortimer’s Christmas Manger and find other adjectives.
Now have your kids take a moment to write two sentences, or more if they’re in upper elementary. Challenge them to write sentences that use great descriptive adjectives, not just hot or cold, but wee, cramped, wonderful. Words that stir your imagination.
Alliteration lesson from Mortimer’s Christmas Manger.
Karma Wilson is a master of alliteration, she uses is to great point in Mortimer’s Christmas Manger, and in her more well known series, “Bear Snores On.” Look for the phrase “too cold, too cramped, too creepy,” and the opposite phrase, “not cold, not cramped, not creepy.” They occur over and over so that by the end of the story your pre-schoolers will be saying it along with you, or for you if you pause and wait for them to say it.
Follow up after reading the story by brainstorming words that start with the same sound. Talk about tongue twisters that use alliteration, for example: Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore. How are those different from Mortimer’s Chirstmas Manger?
Repetition Lesson from Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
Look for phrases repeated in Mortimer’s Christmas Manger. There are two reasons to repeat, it engages young children, and it builds emphasis. Which reason do you think she is using repetition? Can she do it for both reasons?
Art lessons from Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
Jane Chapman illustrated the book in bright vibrant colors using acrylic paint. Have you ever worked in acyrlic paint? It drys very quickly and can be mixed together to create new colors. If you look closely you can see brush strokes in some areas, this is a way to blend the paints and add depth to the painting. If you have a copy get out the “Bear Snores On,” or one of the others from the series. Compare the illustrations in both books, what colors are used?
Spiritual Lessons from Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
Most of this story is just a super cute story about a mouse, and then you get to the last 4 pages. Then Mortimer hears the Christmas story, and he reacts. Ultimately that’s what we need to do, how will we react to Jesus? Will we ask Jesus into our home as Mortimer did or will we leave him out in the cold?
What does Mortimer ask Jesus for? Do we always get what we want in our prayers? Does Jesus care about a home for us? Can you give a story from the Bible that supports your answer?
If you enjoyed this post, be sure you check out our FREE ebook compilation of the entire Christmas Book tour!