Ishtar’s Odyssey is the latest in a series of stories written by Arnold Ytreeide to draw families into the Christmas experience. The main character of this story, Ishtar, is the son of one of the Magi of Christmas. In the beginning, during one of his lessons on Astronomy Ishtar discovers a new star. Ishtar shares his discovery with his father and his uncles who recognize the new star as a sign that a new king will be born. The Magi announce they must take a journey to meet a new king in Judea.
Ishthar’s father, Salamar hires camels and prepares a grand caravan to travel many months to Israel in order to meet the new King of the Jews. Ishtar (who has never experienced anything but palace life) along with his body guard and caretaker will be traveling with the caravan. Ishtar, his father, his uncles and a caravan leave his home in Persia for an adventure which will not soon be forgotten.
Ishtar’s Odyssey is a book which is well worth reading. Older children can read this book on their own, but much greater joy will come as parents read the book with their children. In our home each person read one page, and gave the book to the next person. Each daily reading is only a few pages long. While reading this book the entire family will feel as if they join Isthar on his Odyssey. Many of the sections end with suspense, which will keep the family reading on a daily basis.
During the travels Ishtar experiences many trials, sees new terrain, and meets new friends. As the readers travel with Ishtar they discover life in a caravan, taste new foods (menu ideas are offered in the front of the book) and journey into new discoveries of the meaning of Christmas.
Ishtar’s Odyssey published this year is the fourth in a series of books published for children and adults to share as a family. Each of the books in this series contains the odyssey of a child who is part of the Christmas story. Other books in the series contain the stories of shepherd boy Jotham, shepherd girl Tabatha, Bartholomew from the fishing village of Taricheae. (I changed a comma to a period here – typo)
The stories are interconnected, and the main character of one story appears in each of the other books. Each story also contains several shared characters from Jerusalem, the Qumran community, Jericho and Bethlehem. Each book includes other interesting characters who will draw the reader into the story and into the lives of these fictional families. As books are shared over the years, an ever-expanding story line is created.