Saturday 1 November 2014

The Innkeeper of Bethlehem-The Story of Santa Claus

by Scott Roloff

If you want a Christmas story that includes the real meaning of Christmas with a little twist in the form of Santa- then this will not fail to entertain. It is told in the form of a story within a story and the idea is that you read a short chapter each day during the run-up to Christmas.

The only thing I found disappointing, is that there are no illustrations in the book. When I read stories aloud to children there are always the few who would literally pull the book out of my hands to see the picture. Some children just need that extra connection and it adds to their enjoyment.

I have mixed feelings about this book.
To be honest, I was expecting a humorous Christmas picture book about Santa and the birth of Jesus but this is the complete opposite.
It is a serious retelling of the life of Jesus and aims to give children an understanding of Santa within this Christian context. Although it is a very good, enjoyable story I'm not entirely sure that I like the inclusion of Santa within this biblical tale. To me, Santa is Saint Nicholas and the history buff in me would prefer the more accurate version of his origins rather than mixed in with a Bible story.
As this book is meant to be read aloud to children who believe in Santa, there are a few scenes that I would probably gloss over or leave out- e.g the killing of Joseph by the Roman centurion and Jesus wanting to kill him in revenge.

Also, the death of Jesus is a scary image for little children to have in their head. Indeed, in Irish Catholic primary schools the details of His death are not taught during the children's first few years at school.

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