Cover Image: Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver

Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver

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Member Reviews

I can't give this a positive review because it's nothing short of a religious tract that takes hazy and unreliable legends as facts and runs with them. Yes, there was a Nicholas, and yes, he himself was a church leader, and after his life was over, he had many improbable legends built-up around him and became a saint, but to present these folk-tales as fact - for example that he slapped an Arian bishop because he disagreed with him, when early roll calls of that very congregation do not list Nicholas as even being there, is problematical, as is a Christian church leader resorting to a violent act like that when the Bible itself calls for turning the other cheek! That's hardly saintly!

This book presents the story of Nicholas donating three bags of gold to a father so he could marry off his three daughters as fact when it's highly unlikely this happened, and the whole story is a problem even if it did happen because of the way it treats women as property to be bartered. A real saint would have taken a different tack! I know this is how things were done back then, but that merely serves to highlight the shortcomings of this man, not enhance him.

Gift-giving was a Roman tradition long before Nicholas ever came onto the scene, so he wasn't the one who originated that habit, although he was copted as a post-hoc excuse for it once commercialism saw the value of promoting the purchase and swapping of seasonal gifts. So overall I cannot commned his as a worthy read.
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Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver
by Ned Bustard
Pub Date 12 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 11 Nov 2021
 InterVarsity Press,  IVP Kids
 Children's Fiction  |  Christian



I am reviewing a copy of Saint Nicolas the Gift-giver through Intervarsity Press and NetGalley:




On the night before Christmas, so the old stories say, Saint Nicholas rides in a magical sleigh. But what is the truth, and what are the legends? Who is this giftgiver, and why all the presents?



Around Christmas we start to think about presents and why we give them. In this Children’s book the reader will about the life of Saint Nicholas and why he became known as one of the greatest gift givers of all times.




If you have a young one who wants to know more about Saint Nicholas and why we give gifts, let me recommend Saint Nicholas the Gift-giver.


I give Saint Nicholas the Gift Giver five out of five stars!



Happy Reading!
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I appreciate the goal of this book but was disappointed overall, although I do like the information about Nicholas the book presents. The rhythm and rhyme of the text frequently are forced or just off.  The explanation that Nicholas died but some people say he's the one making the rounds on Christmas Eve isn't the way I would explain Santa to children. The art style and repetitive layout, while a throwback to the earliest of picture books and fitting with the content, may not sustain interest in today's kids. I wanted to like and recommend this book, but sadly, I can't.
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While I learned several micro-biographies of St. Nicholas in this book, what was most profound for me was developing an appreciation of Santa Claus.  There are scholars on the two figures (of which I am not one), but where before I might have admitted some antagonism towards Santa, I am now more open and curious.  The stanzas hint at larger stories, and there are also clues in the illustrations (such as the mouse friend). While the Nicaean altercation was understated in the main text, exposition (happily) follows in the author's note.  

The discussion questions are relevant, concise, and revealing.  The line "For him time has stopped in some curious way--the hands of the clock forever delayed" accompanied by a paused timepiece  may be my favorite part of the book.  My ignorance in art mediums is exposed: "All of the illustrations in this book are relief prints--images carved out of linoleum and printed by hand, then colored in." I had no idea relief print was done with linoleum. 

As honorary auntie, I have plenty of young folks I can gift this to. I also think my adult brother would enjoy it (mostly for the Arius bit).
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I loved this book! It was a fun to read poem about Saint Nicholas that tied into historic origins. This would be.a very cute book to read to a child on Christmas Eve!
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Every generous act of giving, with every gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17


The true story of St. Nicholas told in the cadence of Jolly Old St. Nicholas. How he became to be the gift giver and how his faith led him to Sainthood. The illustrations are colorful and the poetic life of St. Nicholas is inspiring for all ages.

A special thank you to InterVarsity Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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A wonderful account of the life of Saint Nicholas and how he began gift giving in secret. Colorful illustrations told in a lyrical rhyme. A very special book to read during the holiday season. I highly recommend to kids of all ages. Thanks to #netgalley for the advanced reader copy. I loved it.
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Giving the background of the Christmas legend Saint Nicholas, this book also gives glory to God like the original Saint Nick did. The illustrations are reminiscent of stained glass window and give off an old world Christmas vibe.
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A cute poem about Saint Nicholas, who he was, and how his legend originated. I enjoyed the art and think it will easily hold the attention of all readers. The poem is original and will captivate readers, young and old alike. It blends the legend with today’s symbolism in a way that makes it easier to understand for little readers. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.
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Lovely illustrations and an interesting Dr Seuss kind of rhyme scheme to the story. Since the rhyming story drops various names, you probably need more historical background to really get the story (why it was a big change when Constantine legalized Christianity, who Arius was). There are references to the famous "Nicholas slapping/punching a heretic" story, but it's not told in full, perhaps because that's a self-contained story that would probably need to be a storybook by itself.
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Thank you to NetGalley and InterVarsity Press  for my copy of Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver by Ned Bustard in exchange for an honest review. It publishes October 12, 2021. 
This was such a treat of a read aloud to share with my family. I didn't know much about St. Nicholas before reading this, so it was nice to learn a little. The flow of the story was nice and a joy to read. I think any family that celebrates Christmas would enjoy adding this to their holiday library!
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