Asleep on the Hay: A Dust Bowl Christmas
by Ben Sowards
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
It’s Christmas Eve when a knock comes at the door of Paul’s family farmhouse. A small family is stranded due to a broken-down truck and seeks shelter for the evening. Paul’s grandfather not only welcomes them in, but offers them dinner and a bed for the night. Even though it is a season of giving, Paul’s heart is not filled with charity. It’s the height of the Dust Bowl and food is scarce. Why should he share what little he has with strangers? Worse, in order to help the sick baby, Paul will have to sell his beloved calf to buy a part to fix the truck.
Angry, he retreats to the barn, where he sleeps and dreams of faraway Bethlehem. In his dream, he visits Mary and Joseph, and their newborn son, Jesus. The family offers Paul food and shelter and warmth—extending to him the love and charity he lacks and teaching him of the true meaning of Christmas.
I have to say that I was in awe when I first received the book for an honest review. The illustrations were absolutely gorgeous. The story was very touching with a very nice build and flow. I read the story to my four year old. Although, there were some concepts in the book that would be difficult for a young child to understand, the story-telling was done so well along with the illustration that my daughter really enjoyed the story.
It’s great to see a Christmas story that steered away from asking for gifts and getting them from Santa. This story exudes the true theme of Christmas. It is about hope. It is about giving. It is about a child willing to give up something he really loves to help others. This will be a story that I will read over and over again with my children.
Author & Illustrator Ben Sowards
Ben Sowards is the illustrator of many well-loved picture books, including A Christmas Dress for Ellen, Seven Miracles that Saved America, and Christmas Oranges.
Ben Sowards teaches others to paint both traditionally and digitally at Southern Utah University, where has directed the illustration program since 2001.
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