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The Third Gift

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  222 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
From two extraordinary talents, a beautifully crafted picture book for the Christmas season.

The three wise men, or the three kings, are familiar figures in the Christmas tradition. Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park has taken the brief biblical references to the three as the starting point for a new story. In it we meet a boy who is learning his father’s trade; a man who gath
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Clarion Books (first published November 14th 2011)
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Community Reviews

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What do you get when you combine a Newbery winning author and a fabulous illustrator? You get a book like this one. The story is told beautifully in just the right amount of words and illustrations that put you, the reader, into the background of the story. I felt almost like I was there watching the young boy and his father harvest tree resin.

I remember the first time I heard the story of the wise men, I, like many others, had no idea what frankincense and myrrh were. Gold is pretty self-expla
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I never really knew what myrrh was or where it came from until I read this book. In this story a young boy accompanies his father as he harvests "tears"--pearls of sap that seep out of a cut in a tree--to sell in the market. Of course, Christians associate myrrh with the birth of the baby Jesus and the three wise men, and here we see father and son selling their best and largest tears to three men who are going to give them as gifts to a baby. This the boy does not understand, as myrrh is tradit ...more
A boy helps his father harvest "tears"--drops of myrrh that seep from trees, used for medicines and funerals. He and his father sell the boy's large, prized tear to a spice merchant, who sells it in turn to three magi, who want to give it to a baby as a gift. As the men mount their camels and leave, the boy is left wondering about the baby who is about to receive such a strange gift.

Readers unfamiliar with the nativity story may not understand the Biblical connections, but an author's note at t
Lady Lioness
I believe this was featured in PW, which is how It ended up in my TBR. The illustrations are wonderful, completely invoking the desert atmosphere and the historical period. While this is not strictly religious (the text is told from the perspective of a young boy who obviously has no context of what is occurring), it is clear that this is a story that is a small part of the larger Nativity story. The author's note at the back of the book shines a more scholarly light on the book. I was definitel ...more
this tells you how jaded I am...

This is an easy picture book...Meant to be read to small children sitting on your lap, at bedtime, storytime. Whatever.

In it, a little boy is harvesting myrrh to sell to the merchants.

So, he comes across this gigantic 'tear' of myrrh, like the tree is 'crying' sap. It's like the size of his palm.

Turning the page, I'm expecting some bully to come and rip it out of his hands and push him into the dirt. Or, that his father is killed while putting himself between t
Linda Lipko
Dec 27, 2014 Linda Lipko rated it it was amazing
The combination of this Newbery-award winning author and the incredible artistry of Ibatoulline results in a lovely story of the gift of myrrh given to baby Jesus.

Through superb illustrations, we see a young man and his father as they scour the land in search of the solidified tears of sap, which when carefully cultivated results in the precious medicinal myrrh. The sap like substance, which has a unique sweet and smoky aroma, has a wide range of uses, including perfume, embalming fluid and is b
Nevada Libert
Dec 05, 2014 Nevada Libert rated it really liked it
how a boy wonders what three wise men are doing when they say that they need his tear to give it to a baby. and how he wonders who that special baby is.
Lesley Dahlseng
Dec 12, 2015 Lesley Dahlseng rated it it was amazing
Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park has found her way onto my list of must-have children's Christmas books for every Christian home, bringing the Christmas Story to life from a perspective I've never before heard. It precedes the wise men's entrance onto the Christmas scene and showcases those who made the magi's third gift possible, meanwhile answering the question that so many children and adults alike may have . . . what exactly is "myrrh" anyway?

Park leads the reader into the desert alongside a
Lisa Newhouse
Jul 06, 2015 Lisa Newhouse rated it liked it
This books tells the story of a boy and his father walking through the desert collecting tears of sap from trees. At the end of the story, we find out that what they were harvesting was myrrh. Three men meet the boy and his father at the market to purchase a gift of myrrh for a baby. This book is a subtle twist on the story of the three wise men and includes information in the back about who the three wise men might have been. The information page also tells a bit of information about what myrrh ...more
Oct 08, 2015 Josiah rated it it was ok
"I love thinking about the roles of ordinary people in history's great events. History is happening all around us every day, and stories can help remind us that we are as much a part of it as those whose names dominate the headlines."

The Third Gift, from the Author's Note

A Newbery Medal can do wonders for an author's reputation, raising awareness of and expectations for his or her writing many years after the arrival of the Newbery-winning work. Linda Sue Park has never coasted on the moment
Jun 13, 2013 Hannah rated it liked it
I hadn't read a description of this book before reading it, so I was surprised by the fairly specific subject matter of collecting myrrh in the desert (though of course I wasn't sure at first what it was that they were collecting). The other thing that surprised me was the amazing illustrations: photorealistic almost, yet with a dreamy, hazy quality to them befitting the desert setting. Seeing the process of myrrh collection and the considerable skill required in determining when trees were read ...more
Jessica Harrison
Nov 12, 2011 Jessica Harrison rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, picture
Review via Cracking the Cover
We all play a part in history, and most often, our role remains unknown until long after we’ve moved on. “The Third Gift” celebrates one of those unknown roles in the Nativity story. There are no bells and whistles, elves or sparkling lights in Linda’s book. Yet it tells more of what the holiday season is about than many of its contemporaries.

The young boy and his father are unassuming. And while their daily work is important to them, there is nothing particularly gl
Jun 13, 2014 Kyle added it
Shelves: multicultural
The third gift has many connections including text to self and text to world, however the one that stuck out to me the most was text to world. The part where the son was learning his fathers trade is something that is often done in most cultures around the world. Also in the end of the book the father and son take their 'tears' to the market for three men to buy, it appears that the men are the Three Wise Men from the bible, headed to bring their gift to a baby. The third gift was Myrrh.
Mar 09, 2014 Rubi rated it liked it
I thought this book was first. It wasn't Linda Sue Parks most interesting work, but the ending caught my interest. And when I read the author's note, it really hit home for me.
She said she wrote the story because when she was a kid and read the nativity she always wondered what myur (mi spelled I know haha) was, and I thought, "I still didn't know!" Now I do....Thanks Linda Sue!
Nice informative book for a kid's book :)
Katherine Cowley
Dec 31, 2014 Katherine Cowley rated it it was amazing
This is a Christmas book, but the Christ child is only featured as a reference at the end of the book. This story is actually about a boy learning to collect myrrh by gathering resin from trees. I love the history and culture and people in the book, the simple tale and how it teaches so much without losing sight of a plot. The illustrations are also lovely. Definitely a book we'll be reading at Christmas again.
May 21, 2016 Monique rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
What a God filled story about a young boy that learns about harvesting tears from his dad. The love of a father to teach his son the respect of piercing a tree to harvest the precious sap to sale. While the son watches and learns the craft. The end of the book is the biblical explanation of the three wise men which provides the basis for this book, The Third Gift. Truly OUTSTANDING!!!
Oct 30, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla, picture-book
A boy and his father travel through the desert in search of trees whose sap can be collected and sold as myrrh. The boy watches as his father carefully examines the trees and then makes a cut so that sap balls can form and then later be collected. After the boy is allowed to collect an especially large sap ball, the two head to the market where they meet three men who are interested in finding a unique gift for an infant. Back matter includes an Author's Note with Biblical references to the thre ...more
Kay Carman
Feb 23, 2016 Kay Carman rated it liked it
Shelves: christ
Summary: "After harvesting an especially large "tear" of a resin known as myrrh, a young boy and his father visit a spice merchant whose three customers are seeking a special gift to bring to a baby. Includes biblical references and historical information about the Magi and myrrh."

Beautifully illustrated. Interesting subject.
Nov 27, 2015 Ema rated it really liked it
The Third Gift is an imaginative addition to the traditional story of the Maji bringing their gifts to the baby Jesus. As the Maji are traveling to Bethlehem they stop at a market to purchase gifts and meet a father and son who sell them the third gift of myrh. It's a great book to read at Christmas time.
Dec 11, 2012 Naomi rated it really liked it
Shelves: bible, children-s
Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, this book brings the family or congregation another way to approach the story of the Magi's gifts. Park's focus on the collection of myrrh teaches why this resin was so precious and and an important gift, and also can open a discussion of how many people are involved in even the simplest gifts, and the symbolic importance of the three gifts brought by the Wise Men. Park opens the door to wondering about those gifts again and how very peculiar two of ...more
Nov 06, 2014 RachelAnne rated it really liked it
The quiet, understated text and sepia-tinged watercolors resonate with me deeply, but I must admit this isn't going to be a huge kid-pleaser. Still, I love the way that the imagined back-story to the magi's gift brings the Arabian Desert into focus.
Michael Fitzgerald
Feb 21, 2015 Michael Fitzgerald rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The story is great - somewhat dull, but with a tremendous ending. However, the illustrations are not a good match. Ibatoulline is wonderful in other settings, but these just don't work. The author's note is fascinating.
Fred Kohn
This book caught my eye because it was written by Linda Sue Park, and I greatly enjoyed her Keeping Score. This book is a picture book, but it contains a story of substance, and the pictures are magnificent. I confess, I had no idea where myrrh came from until I read this book, so not only was the book entertaining, it was educational as well!
Jul 15, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
Mom and Dad rate this 4 stars and Jacob and Ellie 3 stars.
Elijah Libert
Nov 25, 2015 Elijah Libert rated it really liked it
I just liked this book.
Nov 16, 2011 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Shelves: illustrated
Beautiful illustrations; not colorful, but intriguing. Everything about the artwork looks "painted" (which is not a bad thing), but the faces look real, which makes the story seem like it is about real people.

The story itself leaves a lot to the imagination, which is not a bad thing. Somehow we want the boy to learn more about the recipient of the gift, but ... maybe he will.

The author's notes at the end of the book are both educational and insightful, and a helpful addition to the story.
Dec 14, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
I found this book while searching for new ones to add to our Advent reading. It seemed intriguing as it was based on one of the three gifts the Wise Men brought baby Jesus. I liked how it described the way Myrrh is harvested. My 9 year old said that now he knows where Myrrh comes from when we finished. So I'd say that the book served as a science lesson along with part of the Christmas season. What a good find.
Dec 21, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas, religious
Have you ever wondered what myrrh is? This book follows a father and son as they collect myrrh "tears" from trees and sell them at the market. They are very skilled and one day harvest an unusually large tear. When at the market, they meet three very important men that need a very special gift. A unique addtion to any collections of Christmas stories; one that will answer a question many a young child has asked.
Dec 01, 2012 Trish rated it it was amazing
I read this back in September and then couldn't remember the title. I found it by going through my self-checkout emails in gmail. I'm taking note of it now and I just liked a review that said everything I would have about this book. It was a beautifully done work of art as a whole.

Now that I am delving more and more into the world of essential oils, I am curious to know what frankincense smells like.
Ariel Simmons
Interest Level: 3rd-5th
Reading Level: 4th-6th
Awards:2012 ALA Notable Book for Children
2012 Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year

The Third Gift is a story that gives children not only educational tidbits on what life was like in a different country, during a different time, living a different way, but also it gives children a different perspective to view the birth of Christ from.
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Linda Sue Park is a Korean American author of children's fiction. Park published her first novel, Seesaw Girl, in 1999. To date, she has written six children’s novels and five picture books for younger readers. Park’s work achieved prominence when she received the prestigious 2002 Newbery Medal for her novel A Single Shard.

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