Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tales of Glory Nativity Set from one2believe

A favorite Christmas tradition in our home is the annual setting up of the nativity scene. For those with small children the challenge is to find a set that is not only functional as a helpful tool but durable under the heavy-handed play of little ones over many years.

The Christian ministry one2believe has developed a line of Christian themed toys put out under their BlessedToys.com division. BlessedToys.com has a new line of toys, Tales of Glory, that features The Nativity.

The 17-piece set comes very securely packaged and includes Mary and Joseph, Baby Jesus and the manger, two shepherds, three kings, two angels (unique-- as I’ve seen only one angel in other nativities), a male and female sheep, a camel, a donkey, a palm tree, a bale of hay, and finally the stable. Also included are a simple mini-storybook about the birth of Jesus (printed in English, French, and Spanish) and a leaflet about stages of spiritual development (also in 3 languages).

My five-year-old and 18-month-old daughters were excited when the nativity arrived and have enjoyed playing with the set from the time it was unpackaged about two weeks ago. The box gives a warning that the toy is intended for children 3 and up. The pieces have endured heavy play (again, for over two weeks now) without any breakage. There is a hard plastic, pointed star on the top edge of the stable (could possibly be broken off during rough play) and the figurines are made with PVC, so caution may be in order if you have a child who is teething or likes to put non-food items in their mouth.

I am not as impressed by this nativity set as my girls. The figures, both human and animal, are too cartoony for my liking. And maybe what bothers me most is that they don’t seem to have a nice consistency within the set—it’s as if different artists designed different figurines. Our Joseph figure does not stand on his own as his feet have a slight backward slant. He must be leaned up against something to participate in the scene. I am still a bit confused by the inclusion of two angels instead of just one. Finally, the accompanying mini-storybook gives a weak explanation of the events leading up to the birth of Jesus and makes no mention of the wise men.

My final verdict: As a pure toy and a very early introduction to the birth of Christ, I’d say this nativity set is adequate. Both of my daughters like to play with the pieces. I have watched my 5-year-old enjoy reenacting the account of the birth of Jesus as well as stories of her own design. As a teaching tool about the Christian faith, it is adequate. It contains the necessary elements to retell the Christmas story…as long as you have your Bible. The mini-storybook is just not enough. The leaflet, however, is a very useful outline for understanding "Spritual Stepping Stones" -- the general stages of how children mature spiritually. As a holiday treasure to be passed on to grown children, it falls short. Sadly, the design and craft of the figures are lacking in style and beauty, elements which I believe are very achievable in children’s toys and would add tremendously to its long-term appeal.

4 comments:

_ said...

it is still really cute :) too bad about the books with it.

jinette said...

it looks really cute. perfect for the kiddos to learn with. i can just see alex and kivrin making their own dialogue about the birth of our Savior! they never get to touch our other nativity, so this is a perfect hands-on set! soo cool! (oh, and there are 2 angels ;) )

Heather said...

Looks like a pretty cute set - though of course it lacks the personality of the VeggieTales nativity set (as well as the annoying rendition of "O little Town of Bethlehem"). As for the two angels, well maybe one of them has permanent guard duty at the manger, and the other one flew over the shepherds to make sure they didn't get lost. No Biblical basis for that, just a guess. Still, it looks pretty cute - hope I win!

Heather

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

Hmmm...I have small children who would be excited to have this. It would also be a great discussion piece for my 6yo on how scripture compares to what we see.

Thanks for the giveaway - and the honest review.