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The Innkeeper's Dog Paperback – December 3, 2013
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"The Innkeeper's Dog by Deborah Bence Boerema is the story of Thaniel the Spaniel. It is a beautiful story for children with a strong Christian message. The simplicity of the narration and the beautiful illustrations make the book an exciting read for children. It is a perfect book to instill good values in children. It tells them about the gifts they can give back to Jesus. The illustrations give a personality to all the animals in this book and they complement the writing very well."
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite, 5 stars
From the Author
I was led to write The Innkeeper's Dog early one Christmas season to fill the drawers of a large wooden Advent calendar for my son, Nathan. Rather than filling the drawers with candy or trinkets that would quickly be eaten, lost, or forgotten, I was given the idea to fill them with pages from a Christmas story. I felt this needed to be a story that would be new to Nathan, and I wanted a story related to the first Christmas in Bethlehem. When I couldn't find a story to suit my needs, I was inspired to write one.
I knew Nathan enjoyed stories about animals. The old Christmas carol "The Friendly Beasts" came to mind. In this song, each animal in the stable tells of the gifts he or she gave the infant Jesus.
Thinking that Nathan would relate more to a dog than to a cow or a donkey, I was prompted to create the character of Thaniel the Spaniel. Then I set about answering the question of what Thaniel would have given the Christ child if he'd had a verse in the song.
The result is a story that became a special part of Nathan's Advent calendar that year. I hope The Innkeeper's Dog will become a special part of your Christmas celebration, too!
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Top customer reviews
It wasn't long before it was time for Thaniel to go to work with the Innkeeper's son, a shepherd, out in the fields. Even though Thaniel was a great help guarding the sheep etc. he still felt sad. THEN he heard about a party to celebrate what had happened a year ago in the stable. This made him feel even worse but what did he learn? What a SURPRISE!
I'm not going to spoil the ending for you but just know that you will LOVE it. This is a LOVELY, well-written and illustrated story that is suitable for reading ALL year around. Measuring in at just 8 7/8" x 5 3/4" it is a perfect size for slipping into your bag so that you have a book handy should you be kept waiting somewhere. Important to note that this book is NOT for beginning readers. Each double spread has a full page picture on one side and a full page of writing on the other. GREAT as a read aloud to young children or for children that are good, independent readers. Book provided in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Liz
Everyone wants to feel important, needed, special and most of all loved. Thaniel the Spaniel is a precious dog that lives in a stable located behind an inn in Bethlehem. But, Thaniel is special in his own way yet feels conflicted as he hears stories from the other animals living within the stable about a special baby or child born that they witnessed but he did not. Imagine being there when Jesus was born. Living there with his mother, a sheep, donkey, a red cow and doves, Thaniel felt crowded, cramped and often wanted something more. Talking to himself he lets readers know that he does appreciate what he has like the food or scraps he gets from the innkeeper’s table, the roof over his head and having a mother who loves him. But, Thaneil has been listening to the other animals talk about a special night where a special child was born. Listening to them talk about how shepherds and kinds came to the stable and knelt before the baby only made him wish that he had been part of that night too. Poor Thaniel was really sad as he listened to the other animals tell what gifts they presented to the child and what deeds they performed.
Every child wants security, love and to feel special and the more he listened to the others talk about their experiences the more he felt left out, unloved and sad. Each gift and each story did not endear him to the other animals but made him feel jealous, angry and all alone.
This is a story about feeling wanted, understanding differences, love, friendship, trust and most of all compassion. But, Thaneil did not have to wait long before things changed as the Innkeeper’s son came into his stable and told him that now he would be working with him to help protect the sheep. The Innkeeper’s son was a shepherd and needed someone to help him in the fields. Thaniel was excited because his first task was to carry some figs home for the innkeeper’s son’s mother. Hanging the cloth with the figs over Thaniel’s back allowed him to carry them home safely. But, that was just the first of many things that Thaniel did to earn his keep and prove that he was not only capable of helping the young boy but smart, astute and quite perceptive. Imagine spotting a wolf behind a bolder and bringing the sheep to safety. Wait until you hear and read what happened when he got tangled with some thorns and how that helped save the sheep.
Although Thaniel was proud of his accomplishments they paled in comparison to missing the birth of Baby Jesus. What happens when he learns about a special party and celebration to remember his birth? What gift would he give? Everyone has a purpose in life and everyone has his or her own special and unique talents. But, Thaniel did not feel that he had any. But, when he tells his mother how he feels and why wait until you learn the truth behind that night and what the other animals do to make him feel special. How did the Innkeeper’s son help Thaniel understand just how important he was to him and to everyone? What special event did they create just for him? Why couldn’t he present the child with a gift? How was this explained to him to make him understand that his work with the Innkeeper’s son was valuable, important, and useful and definitely did show his worth and purpose.
Thaniel learned a special secret about that night and just why he was more than just a spaniel but a precious gift presented to the child that night and why the Innkeeper decided to raise him as his own. Everyone wants to feel loved and special on his or her birthday and wait until you learn what the young boy does to show his love, appreciation and special affection for Thaniel. Where does he take him and why? What lessons does he learn and will Thaniel finally realize just how special, smart and unique he is to everyone? This is a book that young children can identify with as so many have negative experiences, feelings and often do not know how to cope or deal with them in order to have a positive outcome. Rather than yell, insult or make Thaniel feel unwanted and upset about his feelings the other animals prove their loyalty and friendship by helping him understand why he is special and why at the time he could not present gifts to the newborn child but why he was so needed now. Dealing with anger, jealousy and learning to understand your own emotions are just some of the issues and lessons brought to light in this special holiday book. Helping others, using our talents in a positive way and realizing that everyone has their own special present that has been bestowed upon them, author Deborah Bence Boerema brings all of this to light through Thaniel. But, even more the illustrations help make the story come to life with colorful pictures that will help non-readers understand the story just by looking at the pictures and listening to someone read it to them. The facial expressions are priceless helping young children and adults understand Thaniel’s emotions. If you visit the author’s website she has listed some invaluable resources for parents, teachers, guidance counselors, discussion groups and more. This is a great story to teach self-esteem, self-worth, friendship, loyalty, parental guidance and love. A great book for the holidays and a great book to make you smile.
let's give this book: FIVE GOLDEN HUGS for Thaniel
In the story, Thaniel is able to recognize all the reasons he should be grateful (i.e., shelter, food, friends). However, he still struggles with feelings of jealousy, anger, and sadness about missing the birth of Baby Jesus and having to listen to the stories told by his friends about their awesome talents. Even after Thaniel starts working as a sheep dog, he is unable to recognize his purpose. Then, one day, his owner is able to clarify Thaniel’s purpose and help him understand why he does not remember the birth of Baby Jesus.
This book is a touching story which relates that God created each of us for a purpose and with gifts and talents. It is packed with discussion points from beginning to end and you may find yourself reading it over and over again to the little ones in your life. Specifically, I think this book can be used in the following ways:
*Discussion on how to cope with negative emotions (Thaniel did not act out when he felt sad, angry or jealous)
*Discussion on how God created everyone special
*Discussion on how we can use our gifts and talents to serve others
*The importance of known/discovering your gifts and talents
*The importance of keeping busy until you discover your gifts and talents (I think this is one a lot of adults struggle with)
If you visit the author's website you will find several wonderful lessons there to go along with the book.
Most recent customer reviews
I highly recommend it.