Book Review: Spider’s Gift: A Christmas Story


I know! Three months until Christmas and already I’m going to start talking about Christmas books. Because you all know I totally have a soft spot for children’s Christmas books. Actually, it’s pretty much an addiction, but… that’s another blog post 😉

Spider’s Gift: A Christmas Story by Geraldine Ann Marshall and illustrated by Rebecca Sorge was an absolutely beautiful story. As much as I love picture books (Christmas ones even more so), I rarely will have pieces of the story keep popping into my head for weeks after I read it. Not so with this story.

It’s set in the stable and tells the Nativity story from the vantage point of three friends; a cricket, a honeybee, and a spider. Each is contemplating a gift they will give to the new baby, but Spider can’t think of anything.

Then she hears one of the wise men say:

God can make miracles when gifts are given with love.

An opportunity presents itself, and Spider is able to use the only gift she can think of, her ordinary web, as a gift to save the newborn Baby Jesus.

A bit fanciful? Maybe. But I think the message it tells is solid. We are able to give our ordinary everyday gifts to Jesus and he can in turn use them to bring about miracles. And that the message I keep find floating around in my head, even weeks after I’ve read this book.


I received this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Last five favorite Christmas Books

Ok, so I know the Christmas Season officially ended yesterday, but… there’s those side notes that some places celebrate Christmas until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (next Sunday) or even the Presentation of the Lord (Feb 2)…. so counting by those dates, I’ve still got a little time. 😉

Anyways, I wanted to share a few new-to-us (except the first, it was from the library) Christmas books this year.

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger

This was such a cute library find (am hoping to procure it sometime in the next year to add to our collection). It’s about a little mouse, Mortimer, who, unhappy with his dark, cold, mouse hole, goes in search of a better house. He eventually spots a perfect mouse-sized house in the family crèche, the only problem is the miniature figures who live there and must be removed daily…

Santa’s Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Story of the First Christmas

A sweet story where in the forest animals find Santa asleep, and are nervous that there won’t be Christmas he’s tired… Santa goes on to tell the real Christmas story and how it has nothing to do with him. And yet, he still gives gifts in memory of the real gift: Christmas itself.

Love was the gift God gave to us on the first Christmas, and it still is, you know. And this love is far better than any presents I can ever deliver.

silk diapers
A Dozen Silk Diapers

A mother spider and her children help out around the stable where they live. Things such as giving the lamb a cast, mending the roof… When a woman arrives and gives birth the children want to go down and meet the baby (like they do every other animal that is born). One brave little spider does and falls into the manger, Mary rescues him and sends him on home. When the mother spider sees that some men came and left gifts she decides to give a gift too. Working all night, her and her children make twelve diapers. (Such a practical gift).


Christmas Lullaby

This is a super simple book. Not a lot of words, beautiful pictures. Tells the story of all the animals bringing something as a gift for the Baby Jesus.

advent calendar
The Story of Christmas with Its Own Advent Calendar

I saw this at Savers and bought it without reading it through very closely, so I missed the fact that there is a calendar that accompanies it. But this is still very usable with out a calendar. (I also put it up on a shelf and promptly forgot about it until half way through Advent, so we’ll do this one next year). Clearly my brain was fully functioning…

Anyways, this book tells the Christmas story in little short narrations (a few paragraphs). One bit of the story every day of December. It starts with a few selections about Isaiah the prophet, moves on to Mary, Joseph, jumps over to the wise men, seeing the star, beginning their journey, and it continues.

I thought it was well organized. A bit more than an Advent Calendar where you just open the windows. Short enough sections you could read it at the breakfast table.


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Photo Post ~ Nativity Play

Ok, I was able to get a few of the pictures from last week’s Nativity Play off my camera and edited. I would have finished them this afternoon, but, man, people around here…. just insisting on help with jackets, and wanting food. It’s a good thing we’re still celebrating Christmas!

So, for now here’s what I have (as I get the other’s done, I’ll add them to this post, so please do check back!). Enjoy!

1 Opening prayer



















This is the point where I had to run out and find Baby Jesus, who was in the middle of a diaper change. (You’re welcome “Mary”!)


to be continued….


notes on the photography:

this was a HUGE learning curve for me. I have never taken photos of an “event” such as this.

Some things I learned:
~ get in closer!
~ shooting from straight on would probably have been better
~ more light
~ use a faster lens
~ really high ISO shows up REALLY grainy on dark surfaces…



Reading with the littles {Advent/Christmas edition}


So, we’ve recently checked out WAY too many books from the library. Mostly Christmas related, but some others. This post is mostly just to highlight our favorites as a way to remember next year which ones we like. 🙂 Maybe you’ll find some new favorites too!

I’m going to loosely try to group them, but it feels a bit hodge-podgy in my mind at the moment. And, yes, I realize some of these feasts have passed, but I didn’t get a chance to write up a post on those specific books before, so they’re just being included here.

~ St. Nicholas ~



The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Anselm Grun
The Miracle of St. Nicholas (Golden Key Books) by Gloria Whelan (probably one of our favorites!)
A Gift from Saint Nicholas by Carole Kismaric
The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas (Phyllis Fogelman Books) by Marianna Mayer (love the illustrations in this one!)
Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert
The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale (15th Anniversary Edition, with Bonus Cookie Recipe and Pattern for St. Nicholas Christmas Cookies)(not pictured) by Aaron Shephard

 ~ Our Lady of Guadalupe ~

The Lady of Guadalupe by Tomie dePaola
(I know there are many other books out there about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I just haven’t read most of them and they aren’t available at our library, so this is all I have for the time being.)

~ St. Lucy/Santa Lucia ~

Hanna’s Christmas by Melissa Peterson
Kirsten’s Surprise (American Girl (Quality)) by Janet Shaw


~ Christmas Eve ~

The Farolitos of Christmas by Edward Gonzales
‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
(both of these are primarily in English with Spanish words scattered throughout)
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (kiddos were super excited to see this one! They love Strega Nona and Big Anthony)

~ Nativity ~

All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root
One Winter’s Night by Leo and Diane Dillon
We Were There: A Nativity Story by Eve Bunting
Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene

 ~ Other Christmas-y/Giving Books ~

The Elves and the Shoemaker by Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd
Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story (Picture Puffins) by Gloria Houston
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Barry, Robert (2000) Hardcover by Robert Barry


That concludes this week’s edition of “library finds” (something I hope to make a regular feature here on the blog).

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