Joseph's Boy


Christian - Children
211 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Joseph's Boy by L R Hay, six-year-old Jamie lives in Nazareth with his father Joseph and has dreams of one day being a prince; well, he is a descendant of King David, after all. While attending a festival with his father, he meets a young woman called Mary and is reminded of how wonderful a woman's kindness is, something he has not enjoyed since his own mother passed away. He convinces his father that she would make a perfect wife for him, and soon enough Joseph and Mary are planning their wedding. Jamie looks forward to being part of a family with younger siblings who, of course, are going to worship him and think he is clever. Jamie is also thrilled with the arrival of baby John, who is named as the one that is to prepare the way for the Son of God. Since John is related to Mary, maybe this means one day Jamie could be a prince. Meanwhile, the family travels to Bethlehem for the birth. Yehoshua (translated from Hebrew to Jesus) is born but danger looms as King Herod orders the death of all boys under two. The family escapes to safety. Everyone knows what happens to Yehoshua, but what does the future hold for his older brother Jamie? Did he ever become a prince?

The age range for this well written, biblically-based novel is pre-teens, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The subject matter of Jamie awaiting the birth of his younger brother, the Messiah, is told in such a comedic way that it definitely brings the scriptures to a mainstream audience. The characters were colorful with memorable personalities, especially Jamie; he was a great protagonist. There were some definite laugh out loud moments throughout the story, such as the discovery of the immaculate conception and when Joseph needed a password to get into the inn. The author has a fantastic ability to draw the reader into the world of the characters, and there were even parts of the story where reader participation was needed. Overall, this story is superb and one that every age group would find interesting and hilarious.

K.C. Finn

Joseph’s Boy is a work of children's fiction focused on biblical stories and Christian themes and was penned by author L. R. Hay. In this particular installment, which is a prequel to Jairus’s Girl, we meet young Jamie at the scene of the very first Christmas. Jamie is a young lad with big dreams, who is looking forward to his father marrying a nice young woman called Mary and their new life beginning. But when he finds himself the older brother of a baby who is prophesied to become the King of Kings for all eternity, Jamie has some big feelings that he must process in order to start growing up.

Written from the perspective of the children in the life of Jesus as he grows up, this is a delightful tale that tells biblical stories with a modern-day relevance in the feelings and thoughts of the characters experiencing them. Author L. R. Hay does a delightful job with young Jamie, who had so many plans and expectations for how his new family and his life were going to turn out. This very modern sense of dealing with adjustment issues reflects the tale of Jesus’s birth and the first Christmas really well, and the two plot threads couple up to teach multiple lessons in one go. Overall, Joseph’s Boy would be a wonderful read for any middle grade and preteen reader, either in a group or solo, and I would also recommend it for parents and teachers who want to engage children in Bible stories from a brand new angle.

Astrid Iustulin

Seeing things through the eyes of a child is often enlightening, and the perspective is really unique if the event is as exceptional as the first Christmas. In L. R. Hay’s novel, Joseph’s Boy, we make our acquaintance with a relative of Jesus, his elder brother James (“Jamie”). Jamie is the son of Joseph and is a smart, nice boy who witnesses all the most famous episodes of the Gospels. They include Zechariah’s dumbness, the angel’s visit to Joseph, and of course, the Nativity and the visit of the Magi. Hay uses humor and occasional modern references to describe Jamie’s reactions to the exceptional circumstances of his younger brother’s birth. Moreover, she gives us a realistic portrayal of a figure that many ignore.

Joseph’s Boy is mainly a book for children and young readers, but grownups will like it as well. My advice to adults is to read it with their children, especially when Christmas is coming. However, Joseph's Boy is a story for all seasons and will keep you company with its engaging tone. One of its strongest points is that Hay took good care of her characters. I must say that I have never read another book where Mary and Joseph seem so human and close to real people. Jamie is a likable boy, and he is irresistible when he dreams big because he is the Messiah’s brother. I believe children will easily identify with Jamie and will have a good time reading his adventures. I highly recommend Joseph's Boy to all of them.