Book Review: The Innkeeper of Bethlehem by Scott Roloff

The Innkeeper of Bethlehem: The Story of Santa Claus
By: Scott Roloff
Genre: Christian/Children/Fantasy
115 pages
Publication Date: September 2013
* Book Source- Complimentary copy from author in exchange for an honest review.

This book will permit families to enjoy Santa Claus and the other secular customs of Christmas within the Christian celebration of Jesus’s birth.  For little children, Santa Claus becomes a real person delivering presents to them from Jesus.  The tale begins with Shai and Adi, the childless owners of an inn in Bethlehem.  When Shai rents out their bedroom, they must sleep in the stable.  During the night, Joseph and Mary arrive and Adi helps Mary through a difficult labor.  They bond, and when an angel appears telling Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, Shai and Adi go with them and become Jesus’s uncle and aunt.  The book then tells of Jesus growing up with his friends Mary Magdalene and John, his ministry, and his death and resurrection.  These vignettes teach the lessons of life and the Bible through Jesus’s experiences.  The book concludes with Shai and Adi following the Lord’s Star to the North Pole, where angels have built a palace.  Jesus wants Shai and Adi to raise the baby angels there until they reach adulthood.  The baby angels, or elves as the grown angels derogatively refer to them, are a mischievous lot.  Shai becomes known as Santa Claus when a baby angel mispronounces “Shai, Uncle of Jesus,” claus being the angelic word for uncle.

I thought the author wrote a creative book blending Jesus's birth with that of the origin of Santa Claus. The story within a story was paced well and flowed nicely. I also thought it was nice how the innkeeper's roles were expanded. I thought, however, the execution was a little awkward but I think this would be an enjoyable book for young children. So I'm giving it...

  1/2 teacups

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