Little Star

I ordered “Little Star” because I have fond childhood memories of another book called “The Tiniest Christmas Star.” I had hoped that this would be in a similar vein.

However, this story was disappointing. The story is about a little boy who is looking up into the sky trying to find the Christmas star from when Jesus was born. So his father tells him the story of the Christmas star. It starts out as a cute story about a tiny star that the other stars ignore or make fun of, kind of like a “Rudolph” story. The tiny star sees Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem and sees that nobody will let them in, and empathizes with them. Then, Baby Jesus is born, the tiny star is concerned that Jesus will be cold, so he shines as brightly as he can to warm the baby. The other stars tell him to stop or he’ll burn himself out, but the little star can’t hear them. All through the night the star shines and warms the baby, and in the morning, the star is all gray and cold because he burned himself out.

The little boy is sad that Little Star is dead, but his father says no.

“You see, Little Star did a wonderful thing that night in Bethlehem. He gave his life so the baby Jesus could be warm. And God gave him a great reward in return. Little Star will be remembered forever and ever.”

“You mean Little Star isn’t gone?” the boy asked.

“No, he’s alive!” the father said. “Every Christmas, when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, people all over the world place a star on top of their Christmas tree to remember him.”

Okay. It’s a cute story. Sure, it’s a super fictionalized account of the story behind the Christmas star. The problem I have with it, is that while it alludes to Christ’s sacrifice so that we might live, the story’s focus at the end is on the STAR, rather than on JESUS. It just left me feeling rather… I dunno… empty, I guess. Maybe the disappointment was that I really loved the story up until the last 2-3 pages, and then it felt as though the narrative suddenly fell flat or turned a corner and left me behind. Also, we know that the star shone for YEARS, (and moved oddly) because the wise men followed it for a very long time and didn’t find Jesus until he was around 2, so the whole supernova thing hasn’t really ever made a lot of sense to me. Even type II supernovae only really last for a few months. But I digress.

Pros:
-cute fictional story about the Christmas Star
-tells the story of Jesus’ birth from a different perspective
-gets the details about Jesus’ birth correct
-as I said earlier, alludes to Jesus’ sacrificial death (and sort of His resurrection)
-great illustrations
-my 2 year old LOVES it – good length and number of words per page

Cons:
-very fictionalized story about the Christmas Star, posing as a true story
-focuses on the star rather than on the true meaning of Christmas

Maybe I’m being nit-picky… but something about the way the author chose to end the story really bothered me. I’m sorry, I really wanted to like this one.

I received this book for blogger review through the Blogging For Books Program. They asked for nothing other than an honest review, but the FTC requires that I make that clear.

~ jenelle

Poetry Corner: Some Dreams Do

Some Dreams Do
10-19-01

“Once upon a time…”
Or so the story goes,
And then in perfect rhyme
The fairytale flows.

To the beautiful, captive princess
The perfect prince or knight
Rides to save her from distress
And everything ends all right.

But “once upon a time” isn’t now,
Not all tears end in laughter,
And we can’t always see how
It could end “happily ever after.”

Life isn’t a fairytale, it’s real
Still, things aren’t always as they seem;
Though it becomes painful
Cling tightly to your dreams.

No, there is no perfect rhyme,
And perfect knights are few,
No “once upon a time,”
Yet, some dreams do come true.

~Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

~ jenelle

Midnight Misadventure

Our hushed whispers seemed to ring out with deafening clarity in the cold, November night air. The barely suppressed giggles slashed through the sacred midnight silence. Along the street, darkened windows stared out at us from sleeping houses with grim, unblinking, and judgmental glowers.
On the very edge of Michigan in a tiny town called Morenci, there is a beautiful brick, one-story house. It is placed on a quiet road across the street from a large field of corn. The pretty little brick house has a large, grassy lawn around it and right out front is a tall, old, peeling, white sycamore. Its trunk has split and grown in two different directions, and each trunk is too thick for a grown man to encircle with his arms.
Upon entering this house, good smells assail the nose and warmth seems to surround the heart. This is my grandparents’ home. At Thanksgiving every year, our family all comes together and gathers at this house to celebrate God’s goodness and constant loving care. It is a happy time, cheery and secure, full of good things to eat and comfortable companionship, and most of all family. It is here that my story begins.
On my mom’s side, I have three cousins who are my own age. These cousins in particular have always been my best friends, for we share a bond that we always believed made us more than cousins. My mom is their mom’s younger sister, and my dad is their dad’s younger brother; to put it simply, sisters married brothers. This made my cousins and me more like sisters than merely cousins; therefore, it was always great fun when we got to spend time together. We were a mischievous four-some, and we were constantly getting into worlds of trouble, but it was harmless trouble, and I think our parents were generally more amused by our antics than upset by them.
At the time of my story’s beginning, I was in eighth grade; Kim was in her sophomore year of high school; and Wendy and Gayle, twins, held that most envied title of seniors in high school. Simply said, it was our last year as children. In a year, I would be entering that vast, and hitherto unexplored, realm of high school, and Wendy and Gayle would be leaving forever on the great adventure called college. We suddenly realized with the dramatic flare that children have, that we might possibly “never see one another again.” So it was decided, this Thanksgiving we had to have one final adventure, an adventure that would go down in history, an adventure worthy of the occasion.
There is a certain adventure that has really become more of a tradition over the years, a tradition that can only be carried out when we go to Grandma and Grandpa Porter’s house. Down the road, two blocks from our grandparents’ house, is the Morenci Baptist church. It is a small church; the congregation is composed of no more than two hundred people. The windows are stained glass and the pastor and his family live in a tiny, yellow-brick house, just next door to the church. It is a real-life, small town church, with all the traditional country-style hospitality and potluck dinners almost every week. However, there is one feature of this church that sets it apart: the bell.
The bell is not in a tower, it is set on a rectangular-shaped mound of earth that rises about three or four feet above the level ground. The bell itself is suspended in the air and attached to a great wheel, larger than a grown man. To ring the bell, one must turn the wheel, thus causing the bell to turn with it until it is completely upside down; and then the person must release the wheel, thus allowing the bell to swing back around and down, swinging back and forth and ringing several times before finally stopping.
Every time we went up to our Grandma and Grandpa Porters’ house, it was our tradition; my cousins’ and mine, to sneak out at midnight at least once during our several days’ stay and walk down to the church and ring the bell. This Thanksgiving was to be different though. We had determined that this time we would not simply ring the bell and run away, this year, we would ring the bell twice.

………. TO BE CONTINUED ………….. NEXT WEEK!

~ jenelle