Disclaimer: I am related to the author--that is to say, he's my dad. That being said, I hope you won't disregard this review.
Where Is Christmas has been around in one form or another for quite some time, and I'm really proud of my dad for finally getting around to having it published. It's too good to be kept a family secret!
I know how good Where Is Christmas is because I thoroughly enjoyed having it read to me when I was a boy. Better still, I know the joy of reading it to my own son, since I recently became a dad myself. I found myself wanting to try to create different voices for each of the characters in the book, and there are a lot to choose from. My son is still just a baby, but I imagine it will be easy with older children to have fun conversations about what beavers' voices or rabbits' voices sound like. Samuels does a great job of developing the story through dialogue, which allows the characters themselves to set the scenes, and makes for much more enjoyment when reading aloud. The narrator's voice is the least common, and the book will challenge the story teller (making it less boring for any adult) to keep up with each of the characters, lest your listeners remind you laughingly that "That's not the bear's voice!"
The book has another feature that makes it fun and re-readable. It's rather long, and it's divided into short chapters. This makes it very easy to read a little bit each night leading up to Christmas, extending the enjoyment, and making it less likely to be moved to the bottom of the toy box in that "been-there-done-that" type of dismissal that is so common in children. Where Is Christmas is not too long, though, and if you read it piecemeal by chapter, you could still work in a telling of "'T'was the Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve.
I posted this review because I love my dad, and I want him to know that I'm proud of him. But you, the consumer, would be remiss if you ignored the fact that I'm the only example of intergenerational readership of this book. I enjoyed hearing the story as a child, and I enjoy reading it to my son. I think you'll experience something similar if you make Where Is Christmas a part of your library.
This enchanting little tale of woodland creatures in search of Christmas will become a holiday favorite for young and old. What begins as a quest by a curious little squirrel, joined by his friends along the way, leads first to discord then to understanding of the true meaning of the Christian holiday of Christmas. Woody and his animal friends learn that even the humblest of gifts are blessed, but most important, they come to understand that Christmas is more than presents and decorations and a focus on things material.
This wonderful children's book reveals the real meaning of Christmas! Using animals to convey the message, Paul Samuels also conveys the idea that our Lord's birth is good news for all of God's creation. The animals search and search to find the treasure of this "thing" called Christmas, about which they have heard the children talking. They expect to find it in all the material ways the children had described, with wonderful food and presents. Along the way, overcoming obstacles, they joyously describe their quest to every furry friend they encounter, inviting them to join in the journey and share in the treasure...not unlike those in our real world when they are excited about the gospel. Before long they have quite a crew collected to share this treasure, which causes some concern over whether there will be enough for everyone. Needless to say, their worries were all for naught as they find out the real reason for all the celebration. Christmas is a "WHO" not just a "what", and as always happens in God's kingdom, its even better than what they imagined! Reading this to your children at Christmas time will make everyone feel warm and "fuzzy" inside! (No pun intended.)
I had the most fortunate opportunity to meet this author. He mentioned this book that he had written. Curious, I purchased it, and read it with my three children (all under the age of 10). The older two enjoyed the story and the characters in it. My oldest enjoyed creating voices for each of the characters and as we read together I would use the voices for each of the characters that she used, so even I was brought into the story and enjoying it. My youngest I think enjoyed the sound of my voice so much that it soothed him into an afternoon slumber.....which is a very rare feat!! So in his own way, I believe he did enjoy it!! It is always nice to share the story of Jesus and His birthday and in a way that is animating and engaging for young readers. Thank you Mr. Samuels. Am so happy I purchase the book and have this story to read even in the months far away from Christmas and not just telling us where Christmas is but WHO Christmas is!!
I am writing to thank you for the gift of your book, Where is Christmas? to our son, Joshua. The illustrations are so adorable, and the message is great. My husband and I definitely place the emphasis on the Who of the season, instead of the What we are getting/giving. This will be a great way to reinforce Jesus' supremacy in our family's Christmas traditions.
Thank you very much! God bless you in your endeavors to teach parents and kids.
My name is Bailey Cloud Watcher. I'm 9 years old and I'm helping my Grandma write this review. We read this book together while on vacation recently and we both think it is an awesome book. Every child should experience Where is Christmas because it is so incredible. Paul Samuels is a terrific writer. He made me fall in love with the woodland animals and reminded me of the meaning of Christmas. We LOVE this book and we love Paul Samuels!
Add this book to your children's Christmas repretoire. Your kids will enjoy hearing it and parents will enjoy reading this delightful story of discovering the WHO in Christmas. Beautifully illustrated, I loved the message of inclusiveness: A disparate group of animals (just like a disparate group of people) argue but come together in their quest for Christmas.