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

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,089 Ratings  ·  402 Reviews
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 get to carry a stick. There are
Hardcover, 117 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Putnam Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2006)
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Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club, humor, reviewed
That was like a nice cup of cocoa on a winter day: too short, heart warming, and leaves you with a good feeling even after it is finished. It is a super quick read and told a simple, humorous, and endearing story about Christmas, family pets, adolescent boys' worldview, and the many humorous characters that populate this run of the mill New York town in the 1960's. It is perfect book to curl up with during a winter night to read and luxuriate in. I will also never hear the phrase "He's with Jesu ...more
Cindy Rollins
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, audiobooks
This is a favorite family Christmas read-aloud. I just had a lot of fun reading it to my dog-loving students. There is one quick paragraph about 'bras' which might causes blushes to some children but for the most part it is delightfully poignant and hilariously funny.
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas, audio
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
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the time it took for a load of laundry to dry, I read this little gem. I've been looking for something sweet to achieve a better state of mind for the holiday season. This was the right pick. Charming.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Megan (ReadingRover)
I happen to grab this audiobook out of the library’s discard bin and I’m so happy that I did. It was a super fun short story. I listened to it throughout the day today while in the car and it even had me laughing out loud at times. It’s a comical story with great narration. I’m definitely hanging on to this so I can listen to it again around Christmas time. I don’t often do rereads but if something is funny I can’t resist.
Whitney Brewer
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unfortunate book cover, but this was a fun little Christmas story that made me actually giggle and kind of choke up a little.
James Nance
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A touching story, with some really good laughs and happy providence. A fun book to ready, even when it's like, not Christmas.
Danielle Palmer
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think this book was ok, but if you are looking for a really good Christmas story, check out “The best Christmas Pageant Ever” instead.
Thomas Holbrook
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I was looking for a “new” Christmas story that would be read aloud as annual Christmas event. When I saw this book reviewed (it has been published for several years) it seemed this was the book for which I had been looking. Having read some of Mr. Barry’s work, I expected good writing, an easily believed story and moments of such hilarity as to leave me breathless. I was not disappointed.
The setting for this yarn is December 1960 in Asquont, New York. Doug Barnes is a shepherd in the St. John’
Marilyn Fontane
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
Dave Barry takes us back to the simple life of 1960 in his light, fluffy Christmas story. His young narrator, Dave Barnes, is playing the role of a shepherd in the St. John's Episcopal Church Christmas pageant in Asquont, New York. He tells funny stories about other events at the church, last year's Christmas play, an Easter service when the bats came out of the bell tower, before narrating this year's events. But this year Frank, the family dog, died just before they left for the program, and D ...more
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
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
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, book-club
This is a very fast read and was a perfect choice for our book club to read considering it is the holidays and crazy busy! The book is about 116 pages but a bunch of those are actually photographs, so the story takes up maybe 70 pages?

I laughed throughout this book at the different antics of kids growing up in the 60's. I also thought the comment was funny about his dad being in advertising and mom saying that meant he drank martinis all day - this reminds me of the show Mad Men because it is tr
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Life happens, even when Christmas approaches. And things can get complicated.

This is a very short book, but lots of fun. I did laugh out loud, and it also made me sniffle- which means it's an excellent holiday read by my lights.

More a slice of life than a plot per se. Great characterization, including the dogs. The narrator is a middle-school boy, with his sensibilities.

I enjoyed it.
Susan Liston
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I didn't realize that this book is ten years old, so that's how long ago I first read. Probably why I didn't remember much about it in my re-read. It's very Dave Barry-ish. No normal person would write a Christmas story in which life-threatening frozen bat poop is featured prominently.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dave Barry is funny. He has great insights into life's inanities. This book struck a poignant note as well. It is the first time I have ever experienced simultaneously crying with vicarious grief and laughing over the humor of the situation. A great short book for Christmas!
funny and easy to relate to if you grew up in that era
Julie Wyngaert
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charming, delightful story, what a fun Christmas tale! I loved it.
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So funny and the quickest read! I love his writing style. it is so easy to read and get into. I could not put it down and finished it in 45 minutes.
Nov 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
Not very memorable.
Steven Meyers
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's highly unlikely I would've bought a book entitled 'The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog' if it did not have Dave Barry's name on the cover. Well, that's not completely true. There are a few other humorists/authors that could have made me look beyond the Hallmark-like title. Alas, Mr. Barry's story is too cutesy for my tastes. Fortunately, it is a very quick read. The type is large, there are generous amounts of white space, and illustrations as well as old 1950-1960 ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
No major criticisms from me in this short Christmas story (about an hour on audiobook). It takes place in the 1960s so you have talk of going to church, housewives, and Christmas pageants. It’s wholesome with a sentimental view on the beloved family pet. I liked the discussion of how Christmas Day is great, but disappointing by the end as everything is over (oh, I know that post holiday slump). In this story that has changed because they got a gift that kept giving on Christmas.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, holiday
If you've read Dave Barry's columns when he was writing for Tropic Magazine or are in possession of his 'Greatest Hits' novel, you will be familiar with the story of him playing a shepherd in the annual nativity pageant in his hometown of Armonk, NY. The best i can see, this is based solidly in his childhood with enough fiction and heart to entertain. I laughed, as always, but I wasn't expecting to cry as I did. Wonderful, afternoon read.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A sweet, touching, great Christmas story... if you have one night to read with a cup of hot chocolate before the holidays, this is the book - funny, just a tad sentimental (in a great way) and it will put you right in the Christmas spirit (especially if you are an animal lover!).

Way to go Dave Barry-just what is needed with all the turmoil in the world right now!!!
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-booklist
This is my December book discussion book. I probably should have picked this for January since it only took me about 30 minutes to read.

I thought it was funny and it is a heart warming story that involves a dog.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving but it made me excited for Christmas and brought back memories of being in the Christmas program at church.
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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 about Dave Barry

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“Shall we go to Bethlehem, men? Or shall we DANCE” 2 likes
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