Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Review: Finding the Baby Jesus (with Top Ten list and Giveaway)

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Finding the Baby Jesus by Kimball Fisher

After being forced to wear lederhosen for the annual holiday card picture, twelve-year-old Chris thinks that the least his parents can do is get him the Tony Hawk skateboard he wants for Christmas. But when he recovers the hand-carved Baby Jesus that everyone thought had been destroyed in a fire the year his Grandma died, Chris realizes that some gifts are even more important than skateboards.

When the author had to discontinue a cherished tradition of reading Christmas stories out loud with his family and holiday guests each week in December, he wrote Finding the Baby Jesus. He had been unable to locate enough meaningful stories that could be read in a single sitting with wiggly children.

My thoughts: This was a very quick read and the author did a nice job of going from one extreme of Christmas in the eyes of the world to Christmas in the heart.  Even better was that it was a child who went through this transformation, whose motives were completely pure at the end.  If it had been an adult, you sometimes wonder if there were ulterior motives in his gestures.

The author was kind enough to share with me his ten favorite gifts to give (or receive).

My wife and I have a tradition of making gifts for Christmas. My ten favorite home-made gifts (for giving or getting) include:

1- Scrapbooks. Reenie does this for me nearly every year. (Because I beg for them! Honest. On my knees.) I love her scrapbooks not only for her photographic and display artistry, but for the visual memories of our life together over the year. Priceless.
2- Poems. A non-holiday tradition we have is that I leave her a pillownote (so-called because of where I tuck them in secret) whenever I go out of town. That happens a lot. As a result, once in a long while I gather the poems and assemble them into a book to present as a Christmas gift. Yikes! That reminds me that this particular gift is long overdue. I just counted and there are 203 scraps of paper with a poem on them that she has sandwiched into the last book I made eons ago.
3- Food. I crave my sweetie's yam and apple casserole. And her apple crisp. And there's this one strawberry jello thingy that has lemon pudding in it. WOW. Oh, and just about anything with whipped cream.
4- Pens. I started making writing pens several years ago after Reenie bought me a lathe. My favorite type of pen to make (the experts, BTW, say "turn" instead of "make") is a cigar style pen out of cocobolo or burled walnut.
5- Stained glass windows. I think the windows are her favorite Christmas gift, although she will neither confirm nor deny this. She always says: "I love everything you make for me!" I've done some smaller ones of flowers (I like irises in blue tones). I also did a big one of Mt. Hood near our home in Portland that ended up being a gift multiple times. I took the window apart and reworked the design until I liked it. I do that with my books, too. I've been rewriting FINDING THE BABY JESUS for the last three Christmas seasons. I finally felt it was done this year.
6- Time. I love it when she gives me something for us to do together. One year she gave us golf lessons. Another year--and I really loved this--she gave us fly fishing lessons in the Provo river in Midway, Utah. We have a cabin there. (Midway is where I decided to locate the FINDING story.)
7- Furniture. Honestly, on the years when I do this I usually only have part of the present completed and hidden under a quilt with a promise to finish it before the next Christmas. But I've made a TV cabinet, head board, coffee table, jewelry case and some other stuff I can't think of right now. In fact our whole making a present tradition started on our first Christmas together because of furniture. We were poor graduate students with a $15.00 Christmas budget. After we got a tree, there was only enough money left for an angel eraser and some Smarties candies. My Mom saved the holiday by helping me refinish an old family drop leaf table to give to my bride to use for our kitchen.
8- One special apron. The first gift my wife ever made me. It's blue with my name on it. It's pretty worn, but I'm keeping it forever.
9- A game. Part of our tradition is to get a game every Christmas that we play before the end of the day. Technically, we buy it instead of making it, but we make the time to play it. That's the fun part, right?
10- My favorite gift is love. There is something so warm and wonderful about just being with my sweetheart on Christmas. I set up her card table and watch her work on a new jigsaw puzzle each year. It's nice seeing her in front of the fire, doing something she really enjoys. Makes me feel good to think about it all year long.

I love the tradition of making gifts to give for Christmas.  A few years ago I talked my family into drawing names for Christmas with the idea that we each had to make something for the person whose name they drew.  This tradition lasted about two years and then I was the only one who wanted to continue to make gifts. . .  Of course, I am the only one in the family who loves to do crafts - needlepoint, knitting, crochet, quilting.  What the rest of the family didn't get was that I just enjoyed seeing the time they put into their projects and the thoughtfulness - not really looking for the finished project.  By the third year they were getting creative and "making" reservations for dinner or the older girls were "making" time to watch their little brother.  So sadly, this tradition has died out with us for now.

Praise for Finding the Baby Jesus:

“Tender and true, this warm Christmas tale brought tears to my eyes.”

–Heather Vogel Frederick, author of the much-beloved Mother-Daughter Book Club series and Oregon Book Award winner for The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed

“A touching story that speaks to the importance of family, giving, and the true spirit of Christmas.”
–Matthew Kirby, author of Icefall, winner of the Edgar Allen Poe and the Pen Center USA Literary Awards for Children’s Literature

“Deeply moving. Poignant.”
–Deborah Halverson, former editor at Harcourt Children’s Books and author of Honk If You Hate Me, a Gayle McCandliss Literary Award Winner

"The perfect little book to tuck away with your Christmas things and bring out year after year to read with family. As mother to three boys, I can't imagine a better protagonist than Chris. His typical teenage attitude followed by the softening of his heart towards a friend teaches a poignant and very relatable lesson on the true meaning of Christmas."

–Amazon review

"After I read this short story I felt like I had read a novel--every sentence is packed with action and imagery. I was emotionally connected to the characters, and the story is touching. I didn't see the plot twist at the end coming! A great story to read every Christmas."

–Amazon review


Author Kimball Fisher

Kimball Fisher writes novels for young readers. He is also a best-selling business author, professional speaker, and management consultant. Some of his past jobs include: sailboat builder, ghost writer (not as scary as it sounds), illustrator, and factory manager (more scary than it sounds). For fun he builds furniture, stained-glass windows, and writing pens.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities (with minors in English, Asian Studies, and Japanese), and a Master of Organizational Behavior degree from Brigham Young University. He and his amazing wife Reenie live in Portland, Oregon, where they have seen pheasants, coyotes, and a bobcat in their own backyard.


Book Blast

Tour Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/26/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Kimball Fisher said...

Thanks for being part of my blog tour!

Christina Fiorelli said...

Christina K. in the rafflecopter

That's a lovely list:) Thank you for sharing your traditions with us:))

QuenKne said...

Your book sounds very interesting - I can't wait to read it. And your list of favorite gifts is priceless; thank you for sharing it.

Kimball Fisher said...

My pleasure.


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