Monday, November 3, 2014

If He Had Not Come - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

In September, I learned that author David Nicholson was letting the Schoolhouse Review Crew review his new book, If He Had Not Come.  This looked like a beautiful book, suitable for families with children ages 6 and up, and I figured surely all the other reviewers would be given this review. After all, I only have one child, and he is almost 15. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I learned that I would get to review this beautiful book!

If He Had Not Come is a reprint of a story written by Nan F. Weeks. The original story came from an anthology copyrighted in 1938 by Pearl Maus, titled Christ and the Fine Arts. If He Had Not Come is a beautiful reproduction by David Nicholson to introduce this wonderful story to a new generation. It is chock-full of lovely illustrations that look to be, possibly, colored pencil, or some medium similar (which encourages me to keep pulling out those art supplies in my home school!).

David Nicholson originally heard If He Had Not Come read to an adult Sunday school class, and Mr. Nicholson was captivated from the start. At that time a desire was planted in him to read this story to his family every Christmas. Thirty years have passed since that day, and in that time the original copyright on the story expired, making it possible for Mr. Nicholson to create this beautiful book to share the story with a new generation of children. All proceeds from sale of the book will be donated to the National Christian Foundation (How cool is that?). Nan Weeks was very active in spreading mission stories to children, and I think she would have approved.

If He Had Not Come is an interesting story in many ways. My very nearly adult son willingly sat with me on the couch and snuggled (similar to the front cover of the book) with me as I read the book to/with him. 
He enjoyed the sweet, shared reading time, as well as the book itself. He quickly noticed, as did I, similarities between the book and a Christmas movie our family is fond of that stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. So I researched that movie, and it says it was based on a different story published by a different person in 1939, but it sure has some similarities...

Anyway, in If He Had Not Come, a boy named Bobby hangs his stocking above the fireplace before going to bed on Christmas Eve. 
Before going to his room, though, he sat with his dad as his dad read a section from the Bible. He went quickly to bed, wanting to fall asleep quickly so that Christmas morning would arrive quickly as well. As he fell asleep he kept remembering five words from what his dad had read to him, "If I had not come."

Bobby woke to a voice calling, "Get up, Bobby, get up right away!" He quickly dressed and went downstairs. He found the house dark, and all signs of Christmas had been wiped away. Bobby ran to the front door and looking down the street, saw that the factory was up and running as it would be on any normal day. At this point Bobby left the house and began a neighborhood journey of discovery of what his neighborhood would have been like if He had never come.

If He had not come, everyone would be working on Christmas Day. If He had not come, there would be much more despair and much less hope. If He had not come, we would not have the Church as a place of refuge. And if he had not come, all those good projects that have been started by the Church would not exist.

And everywhere he goes Bobby sees the reminder message, "If I had not Come". Finally Bobby runs to his home. Running through the living room, he stops to pick up his dad's Bible to look for the verses they read the night before. The New Testament is gone, and all that is left is every page of the New Testament blank except for the words, "If I Had Not Come".
Suddenly, though, Bobby wakes up and learns this was all just a bad dream. He is thankful afresh for all that Jesus has done and thankful that He came.
The book ends with thought-provoking discussion questions that can be helpful to focus your little ones on the content and enable them to get as much as possible from If He Had Not Come.
If He Had Not Come is a wonderful Christmas story, produced in an heirloom quality book. This is the type of story you do want to pull out to read to your children every year at Christmas time. It is a great book to buy as a gift to give to your friends and relatives. I might have bought this for my brother-in-laws' families in years past (they're all older now). Instead I'm more in the bracket where I might buy this for my niece and nephew and their families.

If He Had Not Come sells for $18.95 - it is a beautiful hardbound book that measures about 8"X12" and is about 1/4" thick. If you order it now you will get it in time to give it as a Christmas gift, or just to have it to read to your own children as Christmas approaches. I think this is a real nice book, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to review it.

To read what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew thought of If He Had Not Come, click the button below.


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