Friday, December 16, 2011

Sharing the Joy: Guest post with author Cheryl C. Malandrinos and Review



Please join me today in welcoming Cheryl C. Malandrinos, author of Little Shepherd, as she shares the Christmas spirit as portrayed in literary works.  Please check out my review of Little Shepherd after the guest post.  Enjoy!

When I considered what I would write for such a blog titled The Christmas Spirit, I began thinking of the literary works where the spirit of Christmas plays a role.

The first that comes to mind for me—and probably many others—is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Who can forget the transformation of miserly, sour Ebeneezer Scrooge after the ghostly visit from his former business partner Jacob Marley and the journeys Scrooge took with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future? While Dickens painted Scrooge as a horrible man, the reader is left with sympathy for all he has suffered and rejoices when he declares, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” 

Dr. Seuss came up with his own Scrooge-like character when he created the Grinch. In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the bitter angry Grinch lives on top of Mount Crumpit overlooking Whoville. The Whos love Christmas, but the Grinch does not, so he decides to steal their decorations, presents, and food to keep Christmas from coming. Imagine his surprise when Christmas morning comes and the merry voices of all the Whos in Whoville float up the mountain. “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Even a short poem such as, “I am the Christmas Spirit,” by E.C. Baird, touches our hearts with its profound words. Here are some lines from it that capture my attention.  “I cause the miser's clutched hand to relax, and thus paint a bright spot on his soul…

“I enter dark prison cells, reminding scarred manhood of what might have been, and pointing forward to good days yet to be…

“In a thousand ways I cause the weary world to look up into the face of God, and for a little moment forget the things that are small and wretched.”

What do these literary efforts say about Christmas spirit? Perhaps, it is that the spirit of Christmas lives in all of us—we only need to go looking for it. Maybe they serve as a reminder that we are all brothers and sisters sharing one tiny planet in one universe that God created. And maybe, just maybe, they are calling to us and asking, “How will you make a difference?”

About the author:
Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

Visit Cheryl at her newly redesigned website http://ccmalandrinos.com or visit the Little Shepherd book blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com.


My thoughts:
Little Shepherd is a wonderful children's book to share with children during Christmas, or really any time of year.  It tells about the birth of Christ in a simple way, while also bringing across to the reader that God is watching over us.  I read the book to my sons, who are nine and ten years old and I asked them their thoughts when we finished reading.  One thing my younger son said first off was that he liked the illustrations (beautifully done by Eugene Ruble).  When I asked him what else he liked about the book, he said he liked when the angels came telling them Jesus was born and when they came to see baby Jesus.  I asked him how the sheep were kept safe and he said God watched over the sheep.  My older son also liked when they went to see Jesus.  He also couldn't believe that Obed was watching over sheep when he was only five years old.  When I asked him who kept the sheep safe, he first said the angels and then said God.  He then asked me how God did that and I told him that God was the almighty and he protects who and what he chooses.  He chose to protect the sheep because he wanted the shepherds to witness the birth of Jesus and therefore, to spread the good news.  He said, "I wish I could be God.  I like God."  Out of the mouth of babes.  =O)  As you can see, Little Shepherd does get its message across.  Although clearly written for a younger audience than my sons, they still enjoyed this lovely book.  It's a good edition to any family's Christmas book collection.

About the book:
In the hills outside Bethlehem, Obed guards his first flock of sheep. When the angels appear to tell of the Savior's birth, he is hesitant to follow the others to see the new King. When Obed returns to his sheep, he realizes it is a night of miracles.  Suggested age for readers: 4 - 8

Always in spirit....

7 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lovely book, and I like Cheryl's message very much.

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  2. What a touching review of Little Shepherd. Thank you so much. You've rendered me almost speechless--which is hard do. I'm glad your boys enjoyed the book.

    I wanted to let you know that I will be participating in a Facebook party this afternoon where I will be giving away copies of the book. Details can be found at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/11/20/pump-up-your-books-1st-annual-holiday-extravaganza-facebook-chat-party/ Over 40 authors will be there giving away great prizes.

    Melissa, thanks so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.

    Thanks again for hosting me today, Michelle. You have a lovely blog.

    Wishing you and your readers a blessed Christmas season,

    Cheryl

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  3. Cheryl is a trusted industry partner for me. Check out her blog.

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  4. Wow, I could stay here all day just looking at all the pretty stuff here and listening to the Christmas music! Great guest post, Cheryl!

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  5. Thanks Stephanie & Dot. Great to see you here. Isn't this the neatest blog. I love it. Makes me want to start my own Christmas blog. Do you think I could blog 365 days out of the year?

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  6. What an excellent review! I've heard nothing but good things about this book.

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  7. Thanks for stopping by Farrah. I appreciate your kind words.

    Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas.

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