A third Christmas book review, hooray!
Title: The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
Author: Dave Barry
Publisher: Berkeley Books, 2006
Where I got it: I bought this two years ago at Barnes & Noble.
What do a Christmas pageant, kids who like to goof around, the loss of a pet and the gain of a new one have in common? They're all key parts to this funny and sweet Christmas tale told in the signature voice of humorist Dave Barry. It's 1960, and Doug is cast in his church's Christmas pageant as a shepherd. But on Christmas Eve, things don't go quite as planned—all I'll say is that a dog and bat poop are involved.
This book takes maybe about an hour to read. It's quick, hilarious, and touching all at once. My favorite kind of Christmas story, as you might have noticed from my reviews thus far this week. Barry has an incredible talent at finding the right words to get you to laugh, and he gives Doug a completely believable voice, typical of a younger kid who deals with funny stuff on a daily basis (which makes it not only perfect, but relatable).
The print is pretty big, and photographs and old ads are peppered throughout the pages, which is why it's such a fast read. The images really add a lot to the story, if only for a laugh or two. Plus, if you weren't around in the '60s, it helps you to picture things better.
Though tinged with sadness at times, the antics of Doug, his friends, and his family (not to mention the miracle dog of the title) make this a fun read. It's one I go back to every year, not only because it makes me laugh, but because it's got a great balance of emotion. Seriously, find an hour or so of your time and take it to read this.