Sunday, August 14, 2016

Strangers at the Manger, by Lisa M. Hendey, illustrated by Jenn Bower

In Katie and Patrick's latest "Chime Travelers" adventure, The Strangers at the Manger, the plucky twins travel to Bethlehem to witness the real Christmas story.  While they are helping their parents get the church cleaned up for Christmas Eve service, the bell choir starts rehearsal.  When the bells chime just right, they are whooshed into a strange, yet strangely familiar land.

The twins meet Mary and Joseph while they are on the road to Bethlehem, and end up staying with them for a long period of time.  They get to witness Jesus' birth and the visits from the shepherds and wise men.  They also work hard to help the Holy Family with household chores and babysitting.  From Mary they learn the importance of kindness to strangers, and when the return home they immediately put that lesson to work.

The Chime Traveling twins remind me of the kids in the Magic Treehouse series.  Lisa Hendey brings the story of the first Christmas to life in a cute and breezy way.  Jenn Bower's illustrations match Hendey's tone perfectly.  The Strangers at the Manger is great for all kids (and grown-ups).  Hendey is Roman Catholic, so some of the words may not be familiar to non-Catholics.  Nevertheless, it's a fun read, getting me in the Christmas spirit and reminding me of the joy and miracle of Jesus' birth.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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