It is almost time – are you in a Christmas mood yet? Well, this is sure to get you into the spirit. It is a typical feel good Christmas story; a little on the cheeesy side, I have to admit, but isn’t it what we all want this time of year?

“I just want to go home! But where is home? I don’t suppose I have one any more. And with that realisation, my heart lurches horribly.

My earliest memory is of cuddling up with my littermates, jostling to be the closest to our mum. To begin with, this was all I knew – warmth, milk, a comforting lick from Mum, the odd nip from one of my siblings – but as the world came into focus I discovered an urge to explore, to investigate what lay beyond our cosy nest.”

Teddy has run away from home. The little pup wanted a great adventure and instead got lost in the middle of winter, until he found himself – cold and tired – in front of Claire and Ben’s home. Covered in dirt he shows up a few days before Christmas and little Emily falls in love with him. He seems like the perfect dog: he does what he is told, he seems to understand when he is needed, he is a good listener for Ben and Claire, and he knows when Emily is too ill or tired to play, and when she needs a cuddle.
It has not been a good year for the family – we can probably relate this year! – jobs lost, Emily had Meningitis, a very close call, a stressful year, a difficult year, and even days before Christmas they may have to spend the holidays in hospital. In comes Teddy’s little voice, innocent and bordering naïve, but who seems to be exactly what they need, and Emily is happier than she has been in a long time.

“Moving as quietly as possible so as not to disturb her, I pad across the room to check on her. I know she needs to rest, but if she’s awake then I would love a cuddle. We might even be able to to play a game – a very gentle one, of course. Like any puppy, I know I can get a bit over-excited at times, but I’m discovering that I have a real nurturing instinct towards Emily. I feel a need to care for her and keep her safe. It’s funny really; all this time I’ve been hoping for a new mum, but now I’m acting like one myself! I’m thrilled that as I approach her Emily opens her eyes and, on seeing me, breaks into a huge smile.”

Teddy is sweet, his youth refreshing and cute and there is probably no need to tell you there will be a happy ending. What is beautiful about this book is it is a great family book. Pick it up, and read it together, a little every day over the holidays. After all, Christmas is about spending time as a family and this book is as much for adults as it is for Children.

The Christmas Guest, by Daisy Bell
Published November 2016
ISBN 13: 978 1786481719

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