Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I don’t know about you, but to me, a book called Cow and the Christmas Surprise (written and illustrated by Todd Aaron Smith), doesn’t sound much like a Christian children’s book. But, believe it or not, it is.
The cast of characters in the story are: Cow, Chicken, Pig, Sheep, Horse and Goat. It has snowed and Cow comes across a snowman that has been built in the pasture. She is fascinated by the idea of making things from snow. She starts by making a cow, which actually looks more like a camel. Then she decides to get creative and make people.
Meanwhile, the rest of the animals are ready for their annual Christmas party. They urge Cow to join them in the barn, but she is too involved in her project. They eat food, exchange gifts, and talk about what Christmas means to them – food, parties, and presents - while Cow continues her work outside in the snow. When they are down to the last gift, which is for Cow, they go to the field to get her.
They find Cow with her snow creation finished, a Nativity scene. Cow calls it “The Spirit of Christmas,” but Sheep knows what it is. Sheep tells the other animals the story of Jesus’ birth, how he was born in a humble manger. Pig says, “He should have been born in a palace.” Sheep says, “But that’s the way God chose to do it! He didn’t need a lot of money or an expensive place to live. He came to us for Christmas!”
The other animals then realize that Christmas is much more than just food and parties and presents. “It was about receiving what God gave with great joy – and receiving Jesus right here, right now. . . . . So Christmas came, right there, right then. . . and everyone took a closer look at the spirit of Christmas.”
The illustrations are comical and delightful. Todd Aaron Smith makes the animals look almost human with their expressions and body language.
What I Like: Everything. The book was an unexpected surprise about how a Christmas story can be written.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 4-8.
Publisher Info: Baker’s Books, 2003; ISBN: 0801045177; Hardcover: $7.99.
Special Info: Visit the author/illustrator’s website.