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BENJAMIN P. BLIZZARD WELCOME TO CHRISTMASTOWN

Author: Karen L. Nivens

Illustrator: Jason Grisham

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Publisher: Living Waters Publishing Company,

Material: paperback

Summary: It may only be Easter, but the Blizzard family is feeling like they just got the best Christmas present ever! Mrs. Claus, herself, delivers the news: we need you! So the Blizzards are moving to Christmastown. Benjamin, who is just a 5-year-old cub is so happy, that sometimes his excitement gets in the way. With just a few hours to go before Santa's famous ride, Benjamin spills paint all over the toys in the workshop. The elves are afraid that they won't finish their work, and Benjamin is afraid he's ruined Christmas. But what does Santa think? This is a holiday story that helps kids understand that we all make mistakes.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12

Interest Level: 5 to 9

Age of Child: Read with 6-year-old child.

Young Reader Reaction: We could never get to the end of the story, whether we tried to pick up where we left off or started over.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a story that BEGS for more illustrations. LOTS of them. The premise is wonderful and the lessons for kids have year-round appeal. The reading is text-heavy with sidebars that make it cumbersome to read aloud.

Pros: This is a fun, seasonal tale with lots of vivid imagery. Young children (particularly those who tend to feel awkward or clumsy) will immediately relate to Benjamin.

Cons: You could cut the text by a full third and have an even more incredible book, truly unique book.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a fun story, with incredible potential to be a family favorite for many years.

If You Liked This Book, Try: TINKER'S CHRISTMAS   A WISH FOR WINGS THAT WORK: AN OPUS CHRISTMAS STORY   AUNTIE CLAUS AND THE KEY TO CHRISTMAS

Educational Themes: Christmas is just one theme in this book. Kids will relate to characters, and the events are ones they can understand. You can talk about feelings, clumsiness, friendship, responsibility, cooperation, getting "lost" (as in what happens when your parents can't find you); and perspective. Santa's approach to the "problem" is one we can all be reminded of.

Literary Categories: Fiction - Christmas, animal characters, self worth, easy reader

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2007

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