Ishtar's Odyssey: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide

Leah Courtney
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I love Advent traditions. Throughout the years we've come to have several traditions that we look forward to as a family. This year I was excited to have the opportunity to review a book that I think is going to become another great tradition.

Ishtar's Odyssey is a story meant to be read daily, beginning with the first day of Advent and leading up to Christmas. It's a story that is written for the whole family to enjoy. As well as the story, the author has provided ideas for traditional Persian foods that go along with the story so that families can add that component to this Advent tradition.

Review of Ishtar's Odyssey: a children's and family read aloud for Advent

The story is that of Ishtar, the son of a Persian wise man. When he discovers a star that didn't previously exist, he sets out on a journey with his father and others to find a newborn king. Throughout his journey, Ishtar will learn much about himself as well as about the king he's going to find. He'll have adventures and face danger and will grow and change throughout his journey.

The book is meant to be started the first day of Advent. There is a chart in the back of the book that details the Sunday on which Advent begins for the next several decades. For each day's reading there is information about which candle to light in the traditional Advent wreath. The candle is lit, and there is a short chapter of Ishatar's journey to read. At the end of each chapter is a short section that allows families to discuss the elements in that night's story and draw spiritual connections.

Ishtar's Odyssey is fiction. The author discusses this at the beginning of the book. But it is based on the story of the wisemen who came to bring gifts to Jesus, the baby king. The historical information about Persia and the customs and foods and clothing is accurate. But the Bible doesn't give us many details about the Magi. Creating a story about them gives readers something to relate to. And, in reading Ishtar's Odyssey as a family, we can get a picture of the birth of Christ and those who came to worship him.

I really enjoyed Ishtar's Odyssey. It's a well-written story that I'm looking forward to sharing with my family. I love the short readings and the way that they tie into the traditional Advent candle lighting. I also like to food connections that will really help us to learn more about the people and the culture in the story. The sections at the end of each chapter are thought-provoking and will be good for stimulating discussion- which I love to do with read aloud books.

I'm looking forward to sharing Ishtar's Odyssey with the family as a new Advent tradition. You can find the book on Kregel Productions here and on Amazon here.



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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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