Mylo the donkey loved serving his master even though he wasn't appreciated, but when he became ill, his master left him in the desert to die. Mylo thinks his life is over until God speaks to him, giving him a new purpose. He heads west, where he is eventually found by Joseph's father, Jacob. When the time comes for Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, Jacob gifts them with Mylo, his favorite donkey. Mylo bears witness to Jesus' birth and stays with the family, watching Jesus grow up. He follows Jesus throughout his time ministering to the people and stays by his side all the way to the cross, where Mylo learns of the wondrous gift of salvation God has sent for all mankind.
Mylo is a cute children's picture book that tells the highlights of the story of Jesus, from birth to ascension, from the viewpoint of a donkey named Mylo who became Jesus' loyal animal friend. Making an animal the storyteller is a sure-fire way to draw kids into the story, and Mylo is a good narrator, hitting all the most important points in Jesus' life. However, occasionally it felt like the author was wandering away from Mylo's POV and into her own narrator's POV. In my opinion, this could have and should have been a very emotional story, but a lot of the time, I felt like it was being told in a matter of fact way, making it more difficult for me to connect. I think if an author is going to use anthropomorphism, they should go all in and give the animal human emotions, but Mylo rarely expresses his feelings about Jesus or the things that happen.
I also thought that the opening could have been stronger too. The story begins with Mylo being left in the desert to die by a cruel master, simply because the donkey was ill. God speaks to Mylo and tells him He has a plan for him, to get up and head west, but no mention is made of God healing the donkey or specifically guiding him to where he needs to go, just that he got stronger and stronger the more he galloped toward his destiny. While donkeys can gallop, they typically prefer a more sedate pace and would not be able to maintain this fast gait for a long period of time as Mylo did, especially without food and water when he'd already been starving and thirsty in the desert for some time. I couldn't help feeling like God's miraculous intervention was needed in a big way to make this part of the story more believable. Maybe it was supposed to be implied, and perhaps I'm nitpicking a bit, considering that this is a children's book. However, kids can be quite perceptive and literal, so I wouldn't be surprised if some child readers pick up on these things too.
Other than the weak opening and the lack of emotion, Mylo is a good story. The mechanics of the writing are strong, and there were only a few places where I felt the editing could have been a tad better. The illustrations by Victor Guiza are pretty and colorful, providing a nice accompaniment to the narrative. I also have to give the author a few extra points for showing Jesus' gentleness, love, and concern for animals and for giving children hope that their animal friends who have passed on are in heaven with Him, as well as showing that we too can be with Him in heaven one day if we believe in Jesus. Overall, I would recommend Mylo to parents, grandparents, Sunday School teachers, or anyone who would like to share Jesus' story with children.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author via the publicist, Bostick Communications, in exchange for an honest review.
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