Book Review: “Christmas in the Country”

I picked up a copy of Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant from our library because I’d heard a lot of good things about it. As I started previewing it to see if it was something I wanted to use in school, I was initially impressed.  Cute story about a girl who lives with her grandparents in the country, and the three of them getting ready for Christmas.  All kinds of fun things like chopping down a Christmas tree, decorating, presents, and a family gathering.  Yes, it mentions Santa, but I can work around that.  I was especially impressed because they go to church together on Christmas Eve.  So, the real meaning of Christmas is there.

Then I got to the part where they go to church on Christmas Day, and I read this:

“I went to church again with my grandparents, later that Christmas morning.  They let me take my doll.  The service was short because the preacher knew everyone wanted to play with their toys and bake their hams.  He just reminded us what Christmas was about and sent us home.”

That was kind of a deal-breaker for me.  It gives a completely bad idea of what a pastor’s job is, and takes the focus right of the true reason for Christmas.  I suppose if it had been a fantastic book except for that, I could have just skipped those two pages, but it wasn’t–it was only OK to begin with.  So, we didn’t use it, and I won’t be checking it out again.

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