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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Professor Malcolm McDougal has lived in Coventry all his life. He’s a good Christian man, but sometimes he finds his faith being challenged. The professor is known for all kinds of inventions, his latest being a time travel machine. He’s determined to go back to the first Christmas and see for himself if it happened as the Bible tells us. He sets the timer on the machine, but before he can step inside and venture on his journey back in time, he’s distracted by carollers at the front door. While he is listening to the singing, his three dogs, always mischievous, are attracted to the time machine and find themselves trapped inside and going on a journey back in time. They are confused and the professor is saddened, afraid he’ll never see his beloved dogs again.
Laurence M. Haynes’s picture book story, The Christmas Time Travelers 1, is a sweet, endearing story that interweaves faith and fantasy, and science fiction all into a compelling tale of the first Christmas. The plot follows the professor’s interest in witnessing Jesus’s birth, to strengthen his faith, but the plot also follows the three dogs as they follow the shepherds into the stable in Bethlehem where the baby Jesus is cradled by his mother. Unknowingly, one of the dogs brings the professor the proof he needs to restore and strengthen his faith. But, do we really need proof to support our faith? Are we all a doubting Thomas? Faith is belief without proof, is it not? The author finishes the story with a quote from John when Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The illustrations are charming and help move the story along. A great way to share the Christmas story with young readers and help them understand the beauty of the Christian faith. Loved it!