Nathan's Story, by Michael J. McHugh, is a wonderful retelling of the biblical
story that was told to King David by the prophet Nathan, regarding the rich
man and the poor man. When the rich man receives a visitor he is trying to
impress, he takes something very special from his neighbor, the poor man, in
order to do so. When the king finds out what the rich man has done, he insists
that he repay the poor man beyond what was taken. Only then does the rich man
realize what he has really done, and receives an understanding of what loving
his neighbor truly means.
Nathan's Story is recommended for ages 3-7, and intended to be
read in storybook fashion. This book is 48 pages in length,
although there are few words on each page, and contains wonderful
full-color illustrations to go along with each scene. The book
is available as a hardcover only, and the foreword contains some
scripture references to go over with your child before reading
the story, to help them make the connection between what the Bible
teaches about loving one's neighbor, and what they are about to
hear. The book is also set up in six short chapters, which coincide
with teaching suggestions found at the back of the book. Each teaching
suggestion starts with a scripture reading and then focuses on
the main truth or Biblical principle from each chapter.
I found this to be a great storybook that is wonderful for any
occasion, and my family enjoyed hearing this story very much. I
was able to use the teaching suggestions with my children to help
them better understand why each character in the story made the
choices that they did, and what happened because of their choices.
They were able to take that teaching to heart and realize that
the choices they make affect others, either positively or negatively
and how showing God's love to others will always be the best choice
to make. I highly recommend this book, and consider it a treasure
to our collection.
Nathan's Story is something unique in children's
books. It is both a picture book that illustrates for children
the sin of coveting, and a teaching tool for parents.
The first part of the book is a simple, illustrated version of
the story Nathan told King David in 2 Samuel. It is divided into
chapters, but a parent can easily read the story through in one
sitting. The reading level of the story is simple enough
that the average 2 nd grader should be able to read the story independently.
McHugh's telling of "Nathan's Story" is not a literal retelling
of the story in Scripture. McHugh adds many details to personalize
the poor man and his family, as well as the rich man. This is not
done in a distracting manner, nor does it appear to contradict
The second half of the book is a teaching tool for the parents.
For each chapter of the story, McHugh includes additional Scripture
to read with your child, and a short reading for the parent. This
is not something to be read aloud to the child. The reading
provides talking points for the parent as they re-read or discuss
the story with their child.
In our home, we read the story in its entirety one day, and followed
that by reading the interaction between Nathan and King David from
the Bible. On subsequent days we slowly worked our way through
the devotional readings and supplemental Scripture verses.
I thoroughly enjoyed McHugh's book, and wish he would write more
in this style. McHugh's devotional reading encourages parents
to focus on the heart issue of sin, not merely the outward behavioral
displays we see in our children.