Jotham’s Journey by Arnold Ytreeide is a storybook for Advent. It begins with an explanation of Advent, its history and Advent customs. The author shares how his family practices Advent and how your family can too. Advent begins on December 1st this year, 2013.

This Advent story revolves around Jotham, a 10-year-old boy, living in biblical times. Jotham disobeys his father, runs away and hides from his family. When he decides to go back home, his family is gone because they believe he is dead. Jotham sets out on a journey to find his family.

In the beginning of the story Jotham lies and is disobedient. His character changes as he has to rely on the help of others. The people who assist him share with him about what they have learned about the coming of the Messiah. Some of the people are fictitious, but some are from the Bible including Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna. As the story progresses, Jotham turns away from his sinfulness and grows into someone who earnestly seeks the coming Messiah.

On his journey, Jotham visits such places as Jericho, En Gedi, Qumran, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Jotham’s path is a dangerous one, but realistic for the unsettling age in which he lived. Cultural details are weaved throughout the narrative giving the reader an understanding of biblical times. This book makes the Bible come alive.

We are recommending Jotham’s Journey for boys and girls ages 12 and up because some of the story is scary and violent–someone is killed in a fight. The book also has parts where children are spanked, but they are only disciplined for disobedience. Don’t let the warnings discourage you from reading the book. All of the bad things which happen to the character are balanced out with a strong spiritual message!

There is a reading for each day which concludes with Scripture verses which relate to the topic, as well as questions and points to ponder which the author poses to the reader. Through these thought-provoking questions, readers are able to integrate what they have learned about Jesus and how to center themselves on Jesus. There are many spiritual lessons demonstrated in the story. One is that sin has consequences. Another lesson shows how evil this world is but how God conquers evil with His love, mercy and forgiveness; and how He uses those who believe in Him.

Jotham’s Journey: The Storybook for Advent is 168 pages and is published by Kregel Publications, August 26, 2008.

J. D. Rempel is a graduate of Simpson College. She is endeavoring to pen a preteen science fiction novel and an adult fantasy series. She loves to read and started a library at her church. She enjoys working with her husband in youth ministry and has two dwarf hamsters, Lucy and Suzy.