I don’t know about you, but I need a little Christmas magic right now. Let’s take a little trip to Advent and Christmas with Lisa Hendey’s book, The Strangers at the Manger.
I guess I didn’t read the description of this book too closely as I got it hoping to read it to my son. He’s only 4 years old and after only a couple of sentences, he was asking for his Curious George book instead. Even the fact I was reading it to him from the Kindle Fire didn’t keep his interest (I hardly ever read to him from the Kindle). Well, it’s his loss.
Even as an adult reading this on my own, I got a kick out of it! Such an adorable little chapter book chock-full of facts about the Church, the Bible, and the Nativity story. Anyone reading it couldn’t help but learn something, but it doesn’t read like a textbook. It reads like a fun adventure of a pair of twins traveling back in time.
As another reviewer commented on some other site (it’s really hard for a mom’s brain to keep track), these twins are relatable kids who are good role models you’d want your kid to read about. They are, nonetheless, full of personality and very three-dimensional. In this adventure, the fifth of the series, they travel back in time to the Nativity of our Lord and help the Holy Family in this momentous occasion. They play soccer with the shepherds. They marvel at the wise men. They are fascinated at the sight of seeing the Lord and Savior they hear about so much at Church, being a little baby. As an adult reading this, I could feel their childlike wonder and fascination. It was great!
As in all the Chime Traveler books, they go back in time to learn an important lesson. Before they travel, we are introduced to a refugee family that has just moved into the parish. As you can imagine, this relates very well to the impoverished Holy Family being unable to find a room in Bethlehem, only to later be forced to run off to Egypt. I’d love to share the moral of the story with you, but you’ll have to discover it for yourself. It’s a beautiful little one-liner that will stick with you long after the book is put down.
My husband has a cousin who’s just the right age for chapter books — maybe I can get her a copy for Christmas. Maybe she’ll even let me read it with her.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through my membership in NetGalley. Thank you Franciscan Media for the opportunity. This book is available now through your favorite bookseller.
This review originally appeared on the blog True Dignity of Women.