The Jesse Tree in Picture Books, Model 2.0

*Although it’s only early November, I’m posting this to give ample time for library holds and purchases to be made.
In my first post on how to observe the Jesse Tree tradition in picture books (which has recently been updated to reflect new finds and indicates must read inclusions), I discussed how our family typically stops the Old Testament readings on December 17th to go into full Antiphon mode. It became clear to me that in the shorter years of Advent (like upcoming 2017) there will be only 22 days of the entire season!  This would mean that if we stopped the stories on the 17th, there’d only be 14 days of readings!  Well, this won’t do since the entire story of Salvation needs more than 14 sample stories to cruise up to the Nativity.  So here is a more simple plan for those who prefer it: a 24 day system. You can use this system in the way most ‘Advent Calendars’ are utilized: beginning on December 1st all the way up to Christmas Eve.  (This year—2014— Advent is 25 days long… so I’m stretching out Moses to three nights; it could easily be 4 or 5 if you want to subtract the less important tales of Balaam or Elijah or Belshazzar.)  So, we’ll be doing one story every day and STILL focus ALSO on the O Antiphons beginning on the 17th. For our family, some of these stories needed their own symbols made to be included on our actual tree (which for our family, is an actual tree branch I found, planted in concrete with little wooden ornaments I painted for the symbols). Remember that many of these are out of print but cheap online at amazon or eBay, etc.  And if you can’t borrow or purchase them all this year… just start with what you can!  Bring a little bit of color and wonder into your Jesse Tree readings by including a few picture book stories.  Without further ado:
The Jesse Tree in Picture Books, Model 2.0
Dec. 1: CREATION: best all around is Creation.
Dec. 2: ADAM & EVE: Paradise.
Dec. 3: NOAH’S ARK: Noah’s Ark or Noah’s Ark. You can’t go wrong with either one.

Dec. 4: THE TOWER OF BABEL: The Tower of Babel.
Dec. 5: THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM: Sarah Laughs.
Dec. 6: ABRAHAM & ISAAC: nothing notable in the picture book world that I’ve found! But it’s an important piece of the story so stick with a traditional children’s Bible book to tell it.
Dec. 7: JACOB & ESAU: Jacob and Esau.
Dec. 8: JOSEPH’S COAT OF MANY COLORS: Joseph (first half) or The Coat of Many Colors.
Dec. 9: JOSEPH AS PHAROAH: Joseph (second half) or Benjamin and the Silver Goblet.
Dec. 10: MOSES IN THE BASKET & THE BURNING BUSH: Moses or Exodus (first parts)
Dec. 11: MOSES PLAGUES, THE RED SEA & 10 COMMANDMENTSMoses or Exodus (second parts)
Dec. 12: BALAAM’S ASS: The Angel and the Donkey (1st choice) or The Donkey’s Story (2nd choice)
Dec. 13: RUTH: The Story Of Ruth.
Dec. 14: SAMUEL’S CALL: The Story of the Call of Samuel.
Dec. 15: THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON: The Wisest Man in the World or from the compilation: Kings and Queens of the Bible.
Dec. 16: DAVID & GOLIATH: David and Goliath.
Dec. 17: THE PROPHET ELIJAH: Elijah and the Fire from Heaven (1st choice) or Elijah and King Ahab (2nd choice).
Dec. 18: QUEEN ESTHER: Queen Esther Saves Her People (1st choice) or The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale.
Dec. 19: JONAH: Jonah and the Whale.
Dec. 20: KING BELSHAZZAR AND THE WRITING ON THE WALL: from Kings and Queens of the Bible.
Dec. 21: DANIEL IN THE LION’S DEN: Daniel and the Lord of Lions.
Dec. 22: JOHN THE BAPTIST: nothing notable in the picture book world that I’ve found! But it’s an important piece of the story so stick with a traditional children’s Bible book to tell it.
Dec. 23: THE ANNUNCIATION/VISITATION: from Mary or Mary: The Mother of Jesus or The Life of Mary.  All are good.
Dec. 24: THE NATIVITY: many good choices here. Choose your favorite. I like The Nativity: Six Glorious Pop-Up Scenes and The Story of Christmas best.

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11 thoughts on “The Jesse Tree in Picture Books, Model 2.0

  1. Kelly

    I was just working on this over the weekend! Over the past year, I used your first post to add books to fill in the gaps so we would be ready to go with this. I am excited! I ordered just a few to give us a complete Jesse Tree year in picture books. Through this, I have learned that not every Jesse Tree contains the same stories – mine is a bit different than yours. But a huge THANK YOU for this post and for the inspiration!

    Blessings on your Advent and Christmas!

    1. Ellie

      Kelly, it was so wonderful the moment I realized that their weren't strict "rules" on which stories the Jesse Tree had to contain. The beauty of our faith allows for so much personal flair to traditions… 😉

  2. Erin

    Ellie
    have you seen any of these before? I have both sets and particularly love the bible friends (from my own childhood) the lion ones have longer text.

    1. Ellie

      No, I haven't! I am always usually unimpressed at Bible story sets because they were written as a set. (I realize it's an unfair stereotype.) Whereas, individual picture book stories seem to focus on the elements that make it a good picture book– great pictures, great text. It seems like so many of the Bible story sets I've seen are just trying to plow through the message with some fairly unthoughtful, standard illustrations.

      I do admit to the Bible Friends set looking slightly more appealing than the Lion ones… I may look into buying a few of the harder to locate stories from that at your recommendation! I especially am hungry for a great John the Baptist's birth story!!!

    2. Erin

      Mmm the bible friends are definitely stand alones, in fact for years I only thought there were 5 in the set, recently found the next 5!
      Lion ones are detailed, a bit too much for the younger set, pictures are so so.
      John the Baptist birth story, well have 'Jesus and John the Baptist – Catherine Storr about 4 pages devoted to John's birth, okay but not thrilling.

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