Three years ago, the kids and I started a new tradition of reading a book aloud throughout Advent.

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We started with Arnold Ytreeide’s Jotham’s Journey.  Last year we read Bartholomew’s Passage.  This year we read Ishtar’s Odyssey.  What I love about these books is that they all intertwine as they tell the story of each protagonist making his way to see the Christ child.  You can certainly read the books as stand alones, but they also intertwine.  This year when we read Ishtar’s Odyssey, both Jotham and Bartholomew made appearances.  It was like finding old friends in a book.

Having said that, Ishtar’s Odyssey was my least favorite book of the three that we have read.  While the other two books we read were packed full of adventure and suspense as the young protagonists literally fought for their lives at times, Ishtar’s Odyssey was much less suspenseful.

Unlike Jotham and Bartholomew, Ishtar is a prince, so he is protected and pampered.  He has a body guard who keeps him from harm, and his father is very protective.  Ishtar is the one who first discovers the bright star shining in the sky, and he is soon in a caravan with his father, following the star.

Though he does face danger because someone on the caravan wants to cause him harm and makes several attempts on his life, as a reader, I never felt he was in danger.  In fact, there was only one chapter that was truly suspenseful (and scary for my 6 and 8 year olds).  Compared to the other books, this one was, well, just duller.

Next year we plan to read Tabitha’s Travels, which is the third book of four, Ishtar’s Odyssey being the last book in the series.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

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