The Third Gift
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The Third Gift

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  167 ratings  ·  69 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...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 28th 2011 by Clarion Books (first published November 14th 2011)
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How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. SeussGreat Joy by Kate DiCamilloThis Is the Star by Joyce DunbarA Surprise for Santa by Joan HartmetzArturo and the Navidad Birds by Anne Broyles
Best Picture Books for the Holiday Season
22nd out of 75 books — 4 voters
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2012 Mock Caldecott
76th out of 83 books — 177 voters

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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...more
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...more
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...more
"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...more
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
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...more
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.
Rubi Herrera
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 :)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
This picture book provides a great background on myrrh (one of two tree-sap gifts given to the baby Jesus). The illustrations were well rendered, and the story told with a father and son was a wonderful way of presenting the material. Folks interested in sharing another aspect of the Christmas story with their children will find this book a welcome addition to their library.

WOW. This book is about the collecting of myrhh "tears" back about 2000 years ago in the Middle East.... That should perk up the ears of those who know the story of the three wisemen who visit the baby Jesus. What you have here is a great story, very interesting illustrations, and a story from Bible times that ACTUALLY looks like it DID happen in the Middle East 2000 years ago. Very nice.
Brenda Kahn
Lovely story about a father and son whose life's work is collecting "tears" from trees in the desert. Father is teaching his son, who is interested and eager. It is also a story about the Magi who bore three gifts to an infant born in a manger. Beautiful gold-toned illustrations convey the affection between father and son and add warmth.
A beautifully illustrated book that brings us to Jesus ' birth in the manger. We learn about the gifts the wise men brought, and honestly, I didn't really know what myrrh was. I particularly like that this was an authentic setting, not fair-skinned Anglecized. A nice Christmas book to share with older children.
Do you know what myrrh is? Linda Sue Park's beautifully illustrated story describes how myrrh is collected and its importance as a funerary item. The story slowly unfolds to reveal how a large tear myrrh is collected and then sold to one of three wise men.

Recommended for students in grades 3 - 5.
An understated nativity story which follows a father and son gathering the myrrh that winds up with the magi. Nicely realized and the pictures are detailed and gorgeous. Loved the realistic expressive faces, the mideastern atmosphere.
A beautifully told and illustrated story of a boy who is being mentored by his father in collecting tears (myrrh). He finds the biggest tear and it is purchased in the marketplace by the three Magi as a gift for baby Jesus.
Park's story is great. She manages to provide information about the uses of myrrh and how it is made, while alluding to the bible reference of the birth of Jesus. The pictures were lovely and it was an easy read.
The story relies heavily on the author's note to be complete. However, I did find it interesting to know finally what exactly myrrh is! This would be a different addition to the nativity story.
ALSC Notable 2012
gentle story about a boy learning his father's trade - harvesting myrrh - and how his first attempt ends up as part of a very famous gift. I know I didn't know where myrrh came from, thank you extensive author's notes!
Dec 08, 2011 Connie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: jv
I love books that teach as well as offer a surprise twist. I had no idea that myrrh was dried tree sap collected by hand by traders. The illustrations are gorgeous and deserve recognition, too.
Beautiful story about a boy learning about his Father's craft harvesting the tears from trees that contain myrrh. In the end you see how this plays into the Christmas story and the wise men
Absolutely gorgeous story about how myrrh is gathered, and its uses. Very different from the standard holiday story, but you do see the three wise men make an entrance towards the end of the story.
Right now I am loving a holiday book with a different angle, and this little backstory illustrating the culture of the Middle East at that time is just lovely. Beautiful, unique illustrations.
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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.

More about Linda Sue Park...
Storm Warning (The 39 Clues, #9) A Single Shard A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story Trust No One (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #5) When My Name Was Keoko

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