For Evan’s first Christmas, I bought a little board book to read to him the story of the first Christmas. I’m very big on keeping religious holidays religious as I often, as a child, sat with our dog explaining the story of Easter and Christmas. So I picked up a cute little board book somewhere, and I guess I should have read it first or at least bought it at a Christian story because this is probably the worse story I have ever read.
The book is The Christmas Story (the name says it all) by Patricia A. Pingry. First off, there are several grammatical errors. I hate BS like that. Sure, I’ll let one or two errors slide in an 800 page book (that’s a lot of words to read and edit), but we’re talking about 200 words. Honestly, who didn’t read this book out loud to catch it? (Note: for those that don’t know, the best way to check grammar errors is to read it out loud because most often your ears can hear that something isn’t right.) So I’m expected to read my child, in his most sponge-soaking years, a badly written story, so that he learns the incorrect way to speak.
Second there are some flaws in the story like waiting until halfway through the book and say “During the night, Mary’s baby was born.” It comes out of left field. Foreshadow, Patty (can I call you Patty or Ms. Pingry?), it’s a valuable tool for writers and helpful for readers. I get that they wanted to keep it short and sweet. But you could have nixed the whole “This is the Christmas story” page at the end of the book because you said it in the beginning (very repetitive and boring), and you could have inserted “Mary was going to have a baby” on page three when you talk about Mary riding a donkey and Joseph walking. Not that that had anything to do with the story either. Oh, and would it have killed you to mention the town Bethlehem a little earlier? Because when you get to it, it sounds like oh and they just happened to hit Bethlehem. It’s a little like saying they happened to brake down in Roanoke, Virginia on their way to Williamsburg. Bethlehem was the destination, not an occurrence, and kids will never understand why we sing about it if it wasn’t important. The story doesn’t flow well, and the whole “surprise: Mary’s having a baby” thing just really bothers me.
So after two days of reading this stupid book and the only book I could find that year talking about the actual meaning of Christmas, I took out the Sharpie and made a few adjustments to the book. I’ve contemplated writing to the publisher and asking for a change in the writing. But then I read their version of the Easter story which includes a whole five pages on the actual story and the rest about how we all go to church on Easter. I really don’t think the publisher is up to creating high standards. At least I found another children’s Christmas book this year, but I really ought to shop at a religious store for these things. But then I find it ironic . . . you know with the Christmas tree, the holly, and the mistletoe and all.