Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Catholic Company Book Review: Bambinelli Sunday

Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing
Written by Amy Welborn
Illustrated by Ann Kissane Engelhart

I was really excited to request this book from The Catholic Company for review. We have used a number of Amy Welborn's books in our homeschool for saint studies and First Communion preparation. Because I read a picture book a day every Advent, I am always seeking out new Christmas books.

In Italy, there is a holiday tradition to bring the baby Jesus from the creche to be blessed by the Pope on the third Sunday of Advent. The story of Alessandro, young and left with his grandparents for an extended stay while his parents work, is told around that tradition. Alessandro is having trouble finding the joy in the season and fitting in with the neighbor children when his grandfather suggests he make his own infant Jesus to take to Rome for the blessing.

I love the descriptions of the tradition of Bambinelli Sunday. The very first pages, when the tradition is described, and the street of Naples filled with shops of Nativity scenes, are quite lovely. The book is at its best when describing how Alessandro shapes and paints his own Jesus. Altogether, though, I was a little disappointed with the book. At one point, Alessandro takes one of his grandfather's figurines to be blessed (after his own is broken), which is stealing. Later he gives the figurine away. While I suppose this is to show us his growth in generosity, I can't set aside the fact that it was not his figurine to give away.

We're supposed to see Alessandro growing in faith and charity, but as he never apologizes for any of his mistakes and is only happy when he gets what he wants, I don't see how the book actually shows that. I'm a little ambivalent about sharing the book with my children. I wouldn't say it's a bad book, but with so many other wonderful Advent and Christmas books, I'm not sure it will end up on my list.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an objective review. On an unrelated note, I noticed these new Shining Light dolls while I was getting the links for this review. They look adorable. I'd love to give these to our young goddaughters for Christmas! (I don't get anything if you click any link to The Catholic Company.)

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith


  1. Thanks for mentioning the book and for your review.

    1. I'm so excited you commented on my blog! We love reading the Loyola Kids Book of Saints!


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