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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The King of Christmas: All God's Children Search for Jesus, written by Todd R. Hains and illustrated by Natasha Kennedy, is a Christian children's picture book with the intent of aiding little hearts in remembering where Christ can be found. The book begins with an introduction to a striped feline named Fat Cat, who appears as an omniscient guide in each scene. We then see the biblical Magi, also known as the Wise Men or Three Kings, who ask where the King of Christmas will be found. As the search begins, the Magi and Fat Cat visit different places and ask each time, “Is the King of Christmas here?” The answer is either yes or no depending on the locations, which include places such as the marketplace, the temple, and the manger.
The King of Christmas is a wonderfully accessible book with a simple but powerful message and illustrations that are among the best I've come across in children's literature this year. Todd R. Hains has woven the fabric of Christ's presence in an engaging context that conveys its meaning succinctly and memorably, which is no small feat with our youngest readers. As a parent to children of color, it was fantastic to be able to see people on the page that resemble them. The artwork by Natasha Kennedy is stunning and reminiscent of animation in the early 2000s with a bold palette and expressive, angular character construction on gorgeous, gorgeous full-page spreads. The ending provides prayer, poetry, and a brief lesson on the family to cap off a book that is sure to please in every possible way. Very highly recommended.