By Joseph K. (MI) -
A great book about Pope Benedict and The Vatican - For Children and Adults alike!
As a primary note, I do have to say that this book is technically a follow up to another book: "Joseph and Chico" but I can tell you I did not know that until after I bought it. So you can buy this as a stand alone if you would like, but take it from me, once you purchase one, you will want the other... they are that good!
The position of Pope is not only important and technical, but it is created by God. Few adults know or understand the full explanation of what the position of the Pope entails, let alone what he does on a day to day basis. So how are we supposed to explain that sort of thing to a child? This book definitely will help in that regard.
The story is told from the point of view of a blue thrush, a rock-thrush to be exact. His name is Max and the book opens with the telling of his day to day life and the story behind his name. As well all know, most animals in the "wild" don't have names, but this isn't just any animal... this is a special bird.
Max lives, or spends his time, around the Vatican, their Gardens, and St. Peter's Square. So the story is about his encounters and travels and his eventual fascination with a human that lives in that area. As we come to find out, that human is Pope Benedict.
As we listen to Max, he tells us about the daily happenings around the Vatican, but more importantly he explains what the Pope does on a day to day basis. Yet, Max isn't an ordinary bird, so it isn't told in an ordinary way. You see, Max explains not only the typical schedule and things the Pope does daily, but he dives into the why and how. He notices that the Pope isn't simply doing a job, but instead really embraces the position of Pope, and the great responsibility that accompanies that position.
Max's travels and stories touch on everything from the Pope Benedict's daily writing and praying, to his apostolic visits and audiences, the special events in St. Peter's and even a trip to the Pope's summer home. Through all of this, Max paints the Pope in a very human and intimate way. From his explanation of the prayers and contemplation of the Pope to the hobbies and relaxation the Pope does through his playing of Piano.
The best part about this book is that it really humanizes the Pope in a way that all the TV coverage, press, and mystique never will. It is written in a way that parents can read it to their children and both reader and listener will get something out of it.
This book is a must buy... and is worth it at almost any age. It is a little "long" for a single reading, especially for younger children, but the stories are self contained and it makes a great "Bedtime" stories book.
If nothing else, buy it as a keep-sake and read it for yourself. Then when your child is old enough they can pick it up and become endeared to the Pope through this wonderful story. And last but not least, the watercolor style pictures add to the softness and beauty of this story. This is seriously one of the best children's Catholic stories I have ever read.
You can purchase this book here.