Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Quirky Christmas – Not just for Christmas

Bentrim has done it again! A Quirky Christmas: A Tale of Christmas Spirit, by William G. Bentrim, is a delightful story for any time of year – not just for Christmas. But it would make a great gift for under the tree. It’s a story about four squirrels who display the same traits we find in people. Three of them, Quirky, Stubby and Art, are good friends. Each one has his own little idiosyncrasies but they are still good friends and overlook each other’s “issues.” And then there’s Reggie who seems to have an attitude and considers himself “above” the other normal squirrels.

The squirrels manage to co-exist despite the underlying friction caused by Reggie’s aloofness and greed. Then it happens. A “giant” comes along and cuts down Reggie’s tree, takes it into the house and decorates it for Christmas. It’s beautiful but Reggie is beside himself. Quirky, Stubby and Art show compassion and offer a helping hand. Reggie is surprised they’d be so nice to him after he treated them so poorly. He softens and learns a great lesson.

This story is a fun read for young children, while it subtly teaches them to be kind to others. It’s advertised for ages 9 to 12 but I feel the book is for younger children. My 5-year-old granddaughter loves it! It’s a great book for reading to young children yet still fun for the older self-reader. Put Bentrim’s A Quirky Christmas under the Christmas tree for your favorite child. It will delight him or her for years to come.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Surprised by Oxford is no Surprise

Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber, is a memoir of the author’s journey from an agnostic to a Christian. She had a tough childhood yet, through perseverance, she managed to get through college and received a scholarship to Oxford. That’s when her journey took off in a new and surprising direction. Early on she met an interesting man she called TDH, short for tall, dark and handsome. He’s a Christian and leads her toward Christianity despite the fact that she continues to fight it. But Jesus wins out in this struggle and “Caro” becomes a happy Christian. The book shows how others affect her life and how she, in turn, affects other’s lives.

The book is an easy read and Weber’s story is interesting. However, I feel it was about twice as long as it needed to be. Some may love the book while others will react as I did. Enough is enough. End the book and come to the not-so-surprising ending. Apparently, this book could have been much longer because the ending was summed up in a few pages while we had to read through hundreds of pages to get there.

Yes, Christians will enjoy this book and it is interesting for non-Christians also. I don’t think it’s the type of book that will convert anyone. And the length may just turn some off. Don’t get me wrong, I think Weber is an excellent writer. She just needs to know when to end a good thing.