Home by Another Way: A Christmas Story

by Barbara Brown Taylor

Other authorsMelanie Cataldo (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2018





"This enchanting Christmas story by beloved author and preacher Barbara Brown Taylor follows the three wise men on their world-changing journey to Bethlehem. In this beautiful retelling of their adventure, Taylor captures the power of one very special star and gives readers a new perspective on the three wise men and their encounters with King Herod, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Home by Another Way: A Christmas Story features breathtaking artwork from illustrator Melanie Cataldo and is perfect for gift-giving."--Publisher description.


Flyaway Books (2018), Edition: Illustrated, 40 pages

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(23 ratings; 4.2)

User reviews

LibraryThing member LadyoftheLodge
This beautifully illustrated book lovingly tells the story of the Three Wise Men with a unique and different twist. The story includes aspects that would help a child to relate to the story, such as common features of everyday life--the smell of food cooking, the feel of a newborn baby when held in
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one's arms. My favorite part of the book was when the Wise Men were given the Baby to hold, and felt His presence in their lives. The illustrations add value and meaning to the story with their colorful and sometimes humorous nature. Even a young child would be able to tell the story based on the pictures. This book would be a good way to lead into the winter holidays, as well as a perfect gift selection for families to share.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely mine.
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LibraryThing member Kris_Anderson
This story has a lovely cover. The graphic is eye catching and makes me want to pick it up. I look forward to reading this story when I receive it.
LibraryThing member Carlathelibrarian
This is a wonderful retelling of the biblical story of the arrival of the Wisemen to see the Baby Jesus. Using the Star of Bethlehem to guide them, they arrive at the home of Mary and Joseph to see the baby, Jesus Christ, Son of God. This is a fictional retelling of the story, but I like that it
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shows their arrival at the home, not the Inn as is often depicted in many Christmas Pageants and other Nativity stories. It begins with their leaving, speaking with King Herod, arrival and presentation of the gifts and their leaving and travelling another way. I loved the beautifully detailed illustrations and how they supported the story. I will definitely add this book to our Church Library as well as my family Christmas library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
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LibraryThing member Todd_D._Zittlow
Barbara Brown Taylor, a New York Times best-selling author, teacher, and Episcopal priest., brings us this imaginative, fictionalized retelling of the biblical visit of the Magi following Jesus' birth. The biblical text on this narrative element only occurs in the book of Matthew and covers a brief
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12 verses. Taylor fills out this story with some of her own imaginative elements that break with some of the commonly held notions of the traditional story. For instance, she has the "wise men" traveling from three separate countries and meeting on the road to Jerusalem. She holds with some common tradition by referring to the Magi as "wise men" and by retaining the image of three travelers. In truth, there is very little information to go on in Matthew's recording of this event. As such, theological researchers have maintained a fairly vibrant and robust discussion on the topic of the Magi in recent literature including publications from renowned theological publishers Springer and Brill. All of this is to say that Taylor has legitimately used some literary license to broaden this brief story..

So the question then becomes how well does her retelling work? It appears that Taylor is attempting to contrast the past life ambitions of the magi with the purpose that is found in Jesus. She seems to be framing each of these seekers with generalized (and somewhat common) goals. The first has tried to live a "simple, natural, life" living only on herbs and water. The second has invested his life in learning and study, dedicating his efforts to reading and writing an ancient language. The third has pursued a more 'ecstatic" experience of life by learning to walk on coals. All of these efforts leave them feeling wanting. And so they are "called" by the star to travel to see this new king.

On their way they assume they must be aiming for Jerusalem, the most likely place for a new king. When they arrive and visit King Herod, they realize that he is not the one whom they seek. They inquire about where they might find this new king and they are directed to Bethlehem with the caveat that they return and inform Herod of the location. It is at the manger where this retelling has some of its more poignant moments when we learn that the only image the wise men "could see was the baby." They discover that the stars in their eyes are no longer there for "they had found what they were looking for, something they could not lose." They are warned by a common dream and choose to "find a new way home."

Taylor brings the story full circle when the wise men learn that their earlier life ambitions find their purpose and meaning in this baby.

There are elements to enjoy and appreciate in this picture book. The artwork matches the tone of the story and captures some thought-provoking moments in the simplicity of the pictures. Unfortunately the importance of the growth and change of each of the magi's self-understanding is not very clearly articulated. Also there are a handful of modern references that press against the ancient context of the story, in particular, the odd mention of Pine-Sol.

So on balance this is a middling book with some strengths and some limitations. 3 stars.

This review comes as a result of a free e-galley provided by netgalley.com. #HomeByAnotherWay #NewGalley
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LibraryThing member mnleona
This is quite a different read about the Three Wise Men finding the Baby Jesus. It is a cute story to be read to young children and a good way to talk about the Baby Jesus. I gave it a 4 star rating. It is a picture book.
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