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“Nostalgic…Barry is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t disappoint with this tale.” —Publishers Weekly
“Should prove a holiday favorite for years to come!” —Kirkus Reviews
"Hilarious." —USA Today
Posted March 8, 2009
I loved this book. I read this to my teenage boys on the way to visit relatives for Christmas. They were laughing their heads off. We got to our destination before the book was over and had to sit in the driveway and finish reading. Not only have I recommended this book to others, my boys have told all of their friends it is a Christmas "must read".
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Posted December 10, 2014
I was looking for a “new” Christmas story that would be read aloud as annual Christmas event. When I saw this book reviewed (it has been published for several years) it seemed this was the book for which I had been looking. Having read some of Mr. Barry’s work, I expected good writing, an easily believed story and moments of such hilarity as to leave me breathless. I was not disappointed.
The setting for this yarn is December 1960 in Asquont, New York. Doug Barnes is a shepherd in the St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Christmas Pageant, a step up from being one of the Three Kings of the Orient, which he was the year previous. He had hoped to be Joseph, as Judy Flanders, the prettiest girl in his class is Mary. What he and the other Shepherds do to this Pageant maybe the reason they became all but extinct.
On the way to the production, the reader is introduced to life in the Barnes household. He is the oldest of three children. Stuart, his brother, “who is a real pain,” and Becky, who is the youngest and “is not anywhere near the pain Stuart is, but is real little.” Dad works in New York City, in the advertising industry; his mom raises the kids, “keeps” the house, cooks, drives the children wherever they need to be and does it all with aplomb. The family dog, Frank, “a cross between a Labrador retriever, a St. Bernard and an aircraft carrier,” and his being added to the family pre-dated there being children. On this Christmas Eve, Frank “is not doing well,” “not so much sick as he was just getting old.”
By the time the reader meets Frank, he/she has experienced several of Doug’s “adventures,” – his brother’s pinecone Science Project, the 1959 “Manger Wars,” “The List” kept by him & his fellow male classmates, his first date with Judy Flanders and the school dance. Learning of any of these happenings is reason to read the book. I did not injure myself laughing, but it took a day or two to be assured of that fact. How Frank became Walter and proved to be a true Miracle Dog is the heart of the story, of course. Mr. Barry proves his mettle as an expert story teller and humorist in detailing this moment in the life of the Barnes Family of Asquont, New York.
Reading this book will require: two hours, sufficient oxygen supply in case one has difficulty breathing after hard laughter, a willingness to return to (or visit for the first time) an age when families had time to celebrate each other, Christmas was contained to December and a belief that miracles happen. I enjoyed reading it out loud to my Beloved and I look forward to reading this story so often that I can quote it from memory.
Posted December 15, 2011
This little book has a wonderful tender story of family and Christmas. It looks beyond toys and Santa Claus to tell a story that incorporates all emotions. We are sad, warm and loving, laughing all at the same time. And we still get our Christmas miracle.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2010
Delightfully reminiscent of my youth. A fun, easy read. Dave Berry captures a youngster's view of the Christmas holidays in an honest and hysterical recollection of events. This book is an excellent gift choice.
Be sure to give one to yourself!!!
Posted January 10, 2010
Posted January 9, 2010
This book was okay to good. It certainly wasn't my favorite Christmas book but it was kind of cute. I think young readers pre-teen to early teen may like it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 26, 2009
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