On Christmas Eve, Dot, the ladybug pet of toddler Shaoey, wakes up raring to get her Christmas chores done. She soon discovers Shaoey is running a fever and has to stay in bed all day if she hopes to enjoy Christmas. At first, Dot thinks Christmas will be ruined; there's so much to do. How can she do it all alone? Then, determined to make Christmas "special this year," she girds herself for a day of work.
Since Shaoey can't make Christmas cookies, Dot visits the bakery looking for some. They are all sold out, much to Dot's dismay - although the baker says, "It's the miracle of Christmas that matters." Next, Dot wants to buy Shaoey a special scarf, but when she visits the Miss Isabelle store, she discovers it's already sold. Again frustrated, Dot listens as the shopkeeper tells her, "It's not the right gift that makes Christmas so special./It's the miracle that makes it so."
Finally, when all the chores are done and an exaughsted Dot goes to bed on the Christmas tree, she falls alseep wondering what the miracle is everyone keeps talking about. Then suddenly she's awakened from her sleep to discover...Santa Claus. Dot says,
"'You must be the miracle that Miss IsabelleNext thing Dot knows, it's morning, and she wonders if her Santa siteing was just a dream. She laughs when she see new gifts under the tree, and confirms: "...God sent His Son as a gift for us all/And the miracle of Christmas is Jesus."
And the baker were talking about.'
Then he laughed, 'Ho! Ho! Ho! I'm afraid you're mistaken;
I'm not the miracle, but there is one, no doubt.
The real miracle is the gift of God's love
That He came down from heaven to give us:
A baby named Jesus was born like god promised
To let the world know He is with us.
This is the miracle that makes Christmas special,
And it's why every year in December
We give fits and do special things for each other.
It's all just to help us remember.'"
Throughout, Jim Chapman's illustrations are cute and sketchy.
What I Like: My four year old asks me to read this book repeatedly - and I don't mind because it has a terrific message. I also like how the authors handled the addition of Santa in this story. For parents who wish to teach Santa isn't real, Dot's siting can be called a dream. For those who wish to pretend Santa is real, the Santa siting can be called a mystery.
What I Dislike: If you're not familiar with the other Shaoey and Dot books, you may wonder who on earth this little ladybug is. This book never explains. Yet even though my daughter isn't familiar with the previous Shaoey and Dot books, she had no trouble accepting Dot as Shaoey's pet.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: I'd say about 4 - 7.
Publishing Info: Thomas Nelson, 2005; ISBN: 978-1400306916; hardback, $16.99
Special Info: See our other reviews of books by Steven Curtis Chapman.