On the twelfth day of Christmas...

The Wise Men

There are plenty of stories told from the viewpoint of the wise men so I have tried to choose some which are a bit different!

Kaspar's Greatest Discovery

Campbell Paget (author) and Reg Cartwright (illustrator)

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books  ISBN:  978-0711211742

Kaspar is the wisest of all the Sultan's wise men, but he still wonders why there is a universe. When he hears a voice in a dream, it sends him on a journey towards his greatest discovery. On his trip, he meets two other wise men and they join together in their search- Melchior for the Messiah and Balthazar for the King of the Jews.

The wise men in this story are full of character... telling jokes, standing on their heads, having a swim in an oasis...The illustrations are full of colour and fun, making this a really enjoyable read.

The Stone: A Persian Legend of the Magi 

Dianne Hofmeyr (author) and Jude Daly (illustrator)

Frances Lincoln Children's Books   ISBN: 978-0711212312

The story re-tells the legend recorded by the explorer, Marco Polo. It tells of the three astronomers who take the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby, making their journey by following the star like no other. The child gives them a small,sealed box in return- what might it contain?

Offering a different slant on the story, this is a very well-written and encourages children to ask many questions. The illustrations are full of character, suiting the tone of the book very well.

Three Wise Women

Mary Hoffman (author) and Lynne Russell (illustrator)

Frances Lincoln Children's Books   ISBN: 978-0711214231

This lovely book gives a fresh slant on the Christmas story. Three very different women from three very different parts of the world are linked by their similarities- curiosity, love and friendship- to follow where the star leads them. 


And finally, two stories of the fourth wise man!

The Greatest Gift: The Story of the Other Wise Man

Susan Summers (author) and Jackie Morris (illustrator)

Barefoot Books Ltd   ISBN: 978-1902283708

Beautifully illustrated, this is the story of Artaban, who sets off to join the three wise men we all know, but who is delayed on the way.

The Fourth King: The Story of the Other Wise Man

Ted Sieger (author and illustrator)

Walker Books   ISBN: 978- 1406305753

In this version, it is brave King Massel who sets off to join the others, facing danger and adventure along the way. 

Cartoon style illustrations contrast with the pictures of Jackie Morris in the previous version offering plenty of scope for discussion beyond the text. Brilliant books!