The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
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The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  1,114 ratings  ·  249 reviews
Have a very Barry Christmas!

In this ?hilarious? (USA Today) national bestseller, Pulitzer Prize?winning humorist Dave Barry pens one of the warmest, most delightful Christmas stories ever. The year is 1960, and the Christmas pageant at St. John?s Episcopal Church is a very big deal. Doug Barnes is a shepherd this year, which is better than being a Three King, because you...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 4th 2008 by Berkley Trade (first published July 7th 2006)
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Jenny
Apr 25, 2008 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everybody.
Shelves: favorites, audiobook
This is a funny, charming, sweet, nostalgic Christmas story. I laughed - I cried. Get the audio version (read by Dave himself) for everyone on your Christmas list!
Michael
Dave Barry's attempt to mimic what Jean Sheppard did with "A Christmas Story."

It has its moments but overall isn't quite as heartfelt or warm as the Sheppard story.

Part of this stems from the fact that Barry has to bring in a lot of plot threads for the wacky climax to the story, including the lead characters crush on the girl playing Mary, a church steeple full of bat guano and a new dog for Doug Barnes (the narrator) and his family.

I wonder if hearing Barry read the story might improve thin...more
Sarah
I saved this one for our drive to and from the Christmas Tree Farm...and it worked out perfectly! (just one CD) The boys LOVED it, (David included) and I really liked it too, even moreso w/them all laughing and enjoying it! (Owen asked if it was a series...good idea!)

It's about a kid, Douglas, his family, and friends and their church's annual Christmas play production. I liked that it was written that Doug is telling the story and while he was still a kid (not as a grown up). There are many funn...more
Lisa
What a hoot! We read this while traveling to our church mission trip in Kentucky. A quick read, a bit off-color, but heart-warming as well as humorous! A nice Christmas read - could be done in one hour, out-loud. The author takes you back to family in the 60s, small town, small church experiences, as well as the central role family pets play in a child's life.
Stephanie
This is a fun Christmas read. Dave Barry is, as always, hilarious. The story is a cross between "A Christmas Story" and "The Best Christmas Pageant ever." I read it aloud to my 9-year old (just skipped a page about girls and bras), and he loved it. The characters and events and intermittent vintage photos were endearing.
Heather
Dec 04, 2008 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: my-favorites
This book had me in tears from laughing so hard! My husband said it was funny to hear me giggle. This is a must read, especially if you are stressed from the holidays. Quick and Witty read.
Audrey
Very funny and sweet. The best part were the great vintage photos--loved them! It's a fun, quick read for December when you just need a good laugh, in an hour or less.
Katie Tatton
If The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and A Christmas Story had a baby, The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog would be it. Dave Barry tells the story of a middle school-age boy, the family dog, the yearly Christmas pageant and the mayhem that ensues. The story is charming and funny and moves along quickly. I'm sure my ten year old boys would like this one.
Carol
I needed something to make me smile, so I picked up this book - you cannot read Dave Barry's stuff and not be amused (in my opinion).

It's Christmas pageant time. Now, last year there was a little incident during the pageant thanks to Doug, Phil and Mike - great friends who happened to be the three wise men at the time. So this year, after parental lectures and evil looks from the pageant director, the three found themselves cast as shepherds. All they had to do was wait for their cue, leave the...more
Shazza Maddog
I have always been fond of Dave Barry stories (though a little goes a long way for me). I spotted this book on the holiday shelf at the library and grabbed it up. Whether it is an actual memoir or a fantasized memoir remains to the reader, but it is quite full of Barryisms, and also sweet.

Doug Barnes is going to play a Shepherd in his church's play this year, rather than one of the Three Kings as he did last year. He and his friends, Mike and Pete, are on the director's short list, though, beca...more
Beth
Not very memorable.
Tahleen
What do a Christmas pageant, kids who like to goof around, the loss of a pet and the gain of a new one have in common? They're all key parts to this funny and sweet Christmas tale told in the signature voice of humorist Dave Barry. It's 1960, and Doug is cast in his church's Christmas pageant as a shepherd. But on Christmas Eve, things don't go quite as planned—all I'll say is that a dog and bat poop are involved.

This book takes maybe about an hour to read. It's quick, hilarious, and touching al...more
Cheryl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel
In the 1960 St. John's Episcopal Church's Christmas pageant, Doug Barnes is going to play one of the shepherds, which is cool because he gets to carry a stick. He has to be on his best behavior as he and his friends are already on thin ice with the pageant director on account of their goofing around at the 1959 pageant, which resulted in the Three Kings presenting the baby Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense, and a Rolodex. Meanwhile, Doug has a crush on the girl playing the Virgin Mary who o...more
Charlotte
A reasonably cute, pleasant, and immediately forgettable Christmas story told in classic Dave Barry style. It only took me about half an hour to read as there are lots of photos and the print is very large. (The Barry family photos and vintage advertisements were much more entertaining than the actual story.) I don't mean to be a Grinch, but the whole time I was reading it, I was picturing the conversation between Dave Barry and his agent: "Dave, how about doing a Christmas book this year?" "Nah...more
Michele Hohlfeld
Heartwarming story about the escapades of one family during the Christmas holiday season, told with Dave Barry's usual humorous flair. Short and delightful, read this on New Year's Day in one sitting.
Heidi
So when I say quick read, I mean quick read. Sometimes I don't trust when people say that because I'm a little slow sometimes, but this was really quick. Anyway, the first chapter was a bit sacrilegious--I would have to agree with the prudes he depicts on that one. But the rest was all right, a bit sweet and kind of funny, but mostly corny.
Books Kids Like
What ends up as a fairly wonderful Christmas book begins as a boyhood remembrance of growing up in the 60s. The author's description of junior high school girls developing bosoms was a bit much and didn't have anything to do with the story of one year's Christmas pageant. Except, I guess, for the fact that the protagonist, Doug Barnes, had a crush on one of these girls. The real story tells about the year when Doug played a shepherd and his little sister, Becky, was an angel in the Episcopal chu...more
Frank
This really is a two part book with the first part more about a boy just growing up at the Junior High level and inner thoughts of girls and Christmas pageants and life in general. It is not deep just a funny side as a teen age sees it and is not a very long book, a very quick read. I doubt I would have given the book a 5 star based on this first half. But the second half continues and ends on one particular Christmas and Christmas pageant. And this is where Frank and Walter (both dogs) show up....more
Jennifer Shevchik
Aug 22, 2008 Jennifer Shevchik rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates the innocense of youth
I have never read anything from Dave Barry. This was so adorable and hilarious to read from the point of view of the kid in the story. I love how he always exaggerates numbers and situations, and how his fears are so the fears/concerns of a kid. I miss those days. It makes you remember the days when your biggest worry was how embarassing your parents car was, or getting talked to by the principal. :) I laughed out loud so many times. Probably only took a half hour to read, and it was the best ha...more
Stephanie
This is more of a short story than a stand-alone novel or even a novella, since the 100 or so pages are interspersed with a ton of pictures, but it was still full of Dave Barry's trademark humor and a really sweet, touching story on top of that. It had me laughing out loud multiple times, and I particularly enjoyed the scene where Dad is trying to put together the bicycle. Priceless! My only problem is that it is so short and I've already read Barry's other novels. Give us more, sir!! That's my...more
Jenny
Sep 25, 2011 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone that wants to read a book that will make them feel really good when they are done.
Recommended to Jenny by: Nobody. I bought the book on sale when I walked into a bookstore that was having a closing sale.
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book! It is a quick read by Dave Barry and when you're done you are kind of sad and wish there was more. This book made me laugh, and cry, sometimes simultaneously. You get to know the characters very quickly and I felt like I was reliving some things that happened to Doug and the other characters in the book. It is a very special book that takes place during the Christmas holidays, but one that can be read any time of the year and MAKE you feel like it is C...more
Cheryl
What fun! I really needed this book after trying to slog through "Edgar Sawtelle" (which i JUST couldn't get into - - -i AM going to try that one again some day!!!).

This is a delightful little one hour read of a Christmas tale - - anyone 50+ will recognize the scenery and love it. Add to it the story of Walter, the dog, and you have a wonderfully warm, funny book.
Cathi95
(Humor, 2006) Let's see, there's an adolescent boy, his younger sister, an old dog who dies just before Christmas, a Christmas pageant, and a car with a flat tire. Stir together with Dave Barry's humor, and this book is a great way to spend an hour or so and brighten one's mood. The various threads weave an increasingly hilarious tale. Did I mention the cute girl playing Mary in the pageant as well? I'm smiling now remembering the story, and I read it almost a month ago. Good stuff!
Julie
What a good read to get me ready for Christmas. This was just a small little book that only took me an hour to read. So if you like Christmas stories and dogs, you will love this little book. I especially liked it because it took place in 1960. The book was filled with pictures that took me back to that period of time, like what the Christmas tree's looked like, what presents were popular, what movies were out and how people lived and acted during that time. Sweet memories.
Robert Starner
For those looking for the more traditional holiday tale of good cheer and family life and the Christmas spirit, this tale is for you. Dave Barry presents a beautiful and sentimental tale of family life during the holidays as the church pagaent rehearses, school life and the unselfish love of the old family dog for his child. Though sad at the climax, the resolution is delightful and heartwarming. Sure to provide a holiday glow to any reader.
Cheri
This book is absolutely hysterical! I don't want to go to work so I can keep reading. It has, thus far, actually made me laugh 'til I cried.

Later...it really was a one hour read, or less. I loved it. It is well worth anyone's time. Even my 16-year-old son, who doesn't tend to read, started reading over my shoulder and ended up wanting to read the whole thing. And anything that can get a non-reader interested is a good thing!
Betsy
I love this book and read it every Christmas Eve (well, Christmas Day this year). It is hilarious and to me, it reads like the movie A Christmas Story (which oddly enough, the book the movie A Christmas Story is based on does not). It is funny, a little sad, and just a great Christmas story. It's only a little over 100 pages and has lots of old photos so it only takes about 30 minutes to read. Definitely worth picking up.
Keith
A funny and touching look at Christmas and childhood. As always, Dave Barry's humor is spot on. Though I'm a little younger, I also have many memories of being in the church Christmas pageant (fortunately none like this, though). The photos and illustrations are also perfect choices. Even during the sad parts, I found myself chuckling. A quick read, nevertheless, it's a perfect addition to the holiday library.
Camden
OK, I absolutely love to read Dave Barry's weekly coumn and discovered he's written wome children's books to I decided to check out some of his adult literature. I loved this. 116 pages, it's a very quick read and worth the couple of hours. You will laugh out loud but it's also very touching and sweet. Written from his 5th grade perspective about the annual St. Johns Methodist Christmas Pageant. Very funny.
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Dave Barry is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.
Dave has also written a total of 30 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as...more
More about Dave Barry...
Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers, #1) Peter and the Shadow Thieves (Peter and the Starcatchers, #2) Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (Peter and the Starcatchers, #3) Big Trouble Peter and the Sword of Mercy (Peter and the Starcatchers, #4)

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