ON A BEAUTIFUL AND SNOWY Christmas Eve, PROFESSOR MCDOUGAL— a brilliant inventor in his early 60s— sits at home with his three dogs. McDougal has two Puggles— LILY and BENJI— and one Golden Retriever named KARAT. The three furry friends and McDougal are as close as family and spend all their time together. THIS CHRISTMAS EVE is a very special one. It is the first time that McDougal will test his greatest invention: The time machine. FLASHBACK to McDougal twenty years earlier. He steps onto a stage, where the MAYOR leads the audience members in a round of applause on the Professor’s behalf. The Mayor hands McDougal a Certificate of Achievement and an Award Statue recognizing the Professor’s many achievements and useful inventions. After he is asked what his next invention will be, the Professor replies, “A time machine.” BACK IN THE PRESENT, McDougal prepares the Time Machine for a very special location— the very first Christmas— he is interrupted by a knock at the front door. He opens the door to find CHRISTMAS CAROLERS. Enjoying the music, he doesn’t notice Lily, Benji, and Karat sniffing around the Time Machine. As Karat sniffs, she accidentally bumps one of the screens and activates the time machine. In a brilliant flash of light, the dogs are gone. THE PROFESSOR returns and discovers that his three friends have vanished inside the time machine. Mournfully, he sits down, terrified he’ll never see them again. MEANWHILE, the dogs find themselves in ancient Bethlehem, near a group of THREE SHEPHERDS. The Shepherds walk along a dirt road until they come to a small stable. Inside the stable, they see MARY, JOSEPH, and BABY JESUS. The Shepherds leave, and the dogs curl up in a warm pile of hay and fall asleep. BACK AT MCDOUGAL’S HOUSE, the Professor is in a panic until he realizes that the time machine has already been set for eight hours, and the machine will return to his four-legged friends at the end of eight hours. Somewhat comforted, McDougal finds himself drifting off to sleep. BACK IN BETHLEHEM, Lily stirs from her sleep and goes to take a closer look at the Baby. As she looks at him, the BLUE BLANKET gets caught on her collar. She tries to pull away, but a piece of the blanket gets stuck in her collar. AT TWO IN THE MORNING, the machine lights flash and it emits a whitish glow, waking the Professor. With his delight, he discovers that his three friends have been returned to him. They tumble out of the machine and eagerly greet him. As he puts the dogs to bed, he notices the small piece of blue blanket still attached to Lily’s collar. THE NEXT MORNING, the Professor realizes what the piece of blue blanket means; the dogs really traveled back in time and saw the birth of Christ. Overjoyed, McDougal’s mood soon changes as he wonders whether or not he should tell the world of his discovery. After going to Christmas service and praying about what he should do, McDougal has a vision that a STRANGER IN A ROBE— an ANGEL— talks in riddles about the answer to McDougal’s many prayers. Unsure what the vision means, he visits his PASTOR and asks for advice. Returning home, he has another vision of an ANGEL who tells him the answer to his prayers. As the vision ends, McDougal is unsure whether the encounter with the Angel was real or not. As he stands to feed the dogs, he is startled to discover a GOLD PARCHMENT on the floor. Picking it up, he smiles as he reads. And suddenly, he knows that his encounter with the Angel was real, and that ’each person must find their own faith in the Christmas story
Pacific Book Review
The Christmas Time Travelers by L. M. Haynes is a very original and fascinating Christmas story – one which is definitely a unique twist on the First Christmas for kids growing up, especially if they are dog lovers!
In this tale, an inventor builds a time machine in which he decides to do a test on Christmas Eve. So, once he readies the machine and sets the automatic return timer for eight hours, he gets distracted by Christmas Carolers at his front door. Before he realizes it, his three dogs have run into the time machine and the gadget’s door closed behind them – then, poof…the machine disappears. Realizing what has happened, the professor is saddened to have lost his three loved dogs, and his time machine.
The next part of the book tells the story from the time-traveling dog’s perspective, as they come across the Nativity scene of Jesus Christ being born. The dogs witness, first hand, the miracle of that evening. After a few hours, the trio of K-9s find a comfortable spot in the barn, and nestle down in some hay and drift off to sleep. Lily, one of the dogs, gets a little restless and decides to explore the barn while the others sleep.
Lily brushes up against the blue blanket used to wrap the baby Jesus in his crib, and a piece of the blanket gets caught in Lily’s collar. The professor realizes the timer was set for eight hours, and as that time is approaching, he sits in a chair to await the return of his time machine. Sure enough, at the right moment, the time machine reappears and the dogs are within; healthy, happy, and glad to return to their home. Only this time, there is a piece of the blue blanket still attached to Lily’s collar as physical evidence of the dogs’ journey to the First Christmas, and back.
The illustrations by the author bring together the story with a visual theme making it an ideal bedtime story to be read to youngsters, especially during the holidays. Having the physical evidence of the blanket reinforces the faith of the professor, yet as the moral of the story says each of us needs to find our own evidence of our faith.
The book ends with a quote from John 20:29 – Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
As the piece of the blue blanket was the proof for faith to the professor, all readers will need to find their own evidence to their faith, as The Christmas Time Travelers brings to all’s awareness.
BOOK 1 OF THE CHRISTMAS TIME TRAVELER WHO WON THE BEST IN CHILDRENS BOOK IN PACIFIC BOOK AWARDS