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Tabitha's Travels: A Family Story for Advent Paperback – July 22, 2010
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About the Author
Arnold Ytreeide is a fine storyteller who cares deeply about spiritual growth in families. Ytreeide is the founder of Storyteller Productions and lives with his wife and two children in Nampa, Idaho.
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Tabitha is a young girl who is the focal character in the story. The book follows her through a number of adventures in an effort to save her father from the Romans.
On page 1, I read, "That her brothers got to be those shepherds while she herself had to cook, clean, and take care of donkeys always frustrated Tabitha. "I can do as much as any boy," she thought."
On pages 2-3 I read, "Even though she wasn't allowed to watch a flock herself, she liked traveling from this place to that, seeing new sights and meeting new people. Of course, it was usually her brothers who got to have the really fun adventures - fighting off wild animals and thieves, going inside the walls of the biggest cities, and best of all, entering the temple in Jerusalem. "As a girl, I don't get to do any of that," she thought again with a sigh."
On page 91, Tabitha is in conversation with Elizabeth about the Jewish temple:
"You mean men can go farther into the temple than women?" Tabitha exclaimed.
"Yes, child, that is how it must be." The heat of anger rose in Tabitha's cheeks, and she thought to herself that she was every bit as good as any boy, but she kept her lips tightly sealed.
In almost every chapter, Tabitha has some thought or comment to make about how she is unhappy with how she is treated as a girl, and how she believes girls should be able to do everything boys do. As this theme was so heavy in the book, my disappointment with it grew as we continued reading. I was hoping that Tabitha's poor attitude about her own sex would be addressed somewhere, and it was at one point (The priest Zechariah told her, "It is not the way of our people. And we must each humble ourselves to the place to which God has appointed us."), but then it seemed to be forgotten again.
Even at the very end of the story, this was Tabitha's response to the fact that her father didn't understand about the baby in the stable: "Tabitha just shook her head and wondered why boys are so dumb, but didn't say anything."
Is this the sort of role model I want for my daughters? Someone who thinks her father is dumb because he's a boy? Someone who is unhappy with the role that God has given her as a future helpmeet to her husband? Someone who is bitter against the God who made her, for making her female? No, it is not.
I would like to say that if these elements were taken out of the story (and they were completely unnecessary to the story), I would have liked this book very much. As it stands, I will not be keeping it in my home.
There will probably be people who read this review and take issue with it. I have no interest in debating God's will for women. I wanted to put this review up here so that others like myself, who care about this issue, will be aware that it is throughout this book. If you would like more information about where I'm coming from, Google "What is Feminism" (in quotes) and "Chancey" and click on the first link for the article "What is Feminism?" by Jennie Chancey.
It's an amazing way to keep the reason for the season at the forefront EACH day of advent. Thank you Mr. Ytreeide for you imaginative, creative creations. We can't wait to read another next year, and the year after that.
From the beginning Tabitha resents being a girl who isn't allowed to do all that the boys are doing. She is very smart and has many good ideas, but several times she is the only one can can solve a problem, making her a heroine. Several times in the story, she "comes to the rescue". Whereas in Jotham's Journey, Jotham's disobedience gets him into trouble; Tabitha disobeys but because it works out well, the disobedience is overlooked. Early on she thinks how boys would complain in her situation, but she doesn't because girls have to learn not to complain.
Tabitha's desire to be treated like a boy was so strong that it overwhelmed other parts of the story for us. Not until she meets Zechariah and he gives her wonderful words of wisdom is this issue addressed properly in the book.
Still a good story, but definitely not at the level of Jotham's Journey or even Bartholomew's Passage.