Author\illustrator Ned Bustard’s lively, rhyming verses and vivid, striking artwork take young readers on an informative, faith-based journey through the life of Saint Nicholas. Bustard begins by asking, “What is the truth, / and what are the legends? / Who is this giftgiver, / and why all the presents?”
Children will learn that Nicholas was born in Turkey to loving parents and was baptized. Orphaned at a young age, he was raised by his uncle, who taught him “to love our dear Savior, / who makes all things new. / That Savior is Jesus, / God’s very own Son, / a stable-born King— / the true Risen One!” Years later, Nicholas traveled to the Holy Lands, was arrested for standing up for the truth of the gospel, then freed. He settled in Myra, taught people the Bible, and helped whomever he could: “Nick cared for the church, / serving as their bishop: / he shared with God’s people / both the Word and the Cup. / And in thanks for grace / from God the Almighty, / he gave gifts to the weak, / the sick, and the needy.”
Besides relaying facts about Saint Nicholas’s life, Bustard also shares what some stories said about him: how he rode a sleigh pulled by reindeer through the sky, going to great lengths to bring gifts to children on Christmas Eve, just as the Wise Men traveled a long distance to bring gifts to Jesus.
Bustard concludes his narrative on a playful note, pointing to the faith-based motivation for Saint Nicholas’s giving and imagining him still giving gifts today: “Saint Nicholas follows / our Giftgiver above / and gives to show others / God’s wonderful love. / He’ll deliver delights / until Jesus descends— / for Saint Nick it will stay / Christmas Eve ‘til the end.”
In an author note, Ned Bustard relates in further detail the truth and legend of Saint Nicholas’s gift giving, and encourages readers to think about and answer two questions: “What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever given? What’s the greatest gift you’ve ever received?” (IVP Kids)