Title: The Christmas Guest
Author: Daisy Bell
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Contemporary, (Christmas, Animals)
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries:  Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description:  When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he is confronted by a cold, scary and oh, so big world.
Then he finds the Woods family.  With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Teddy forms a special bond with Claire and Ben, but it’s in little Emily that he finds the best friend he needs.
But Emily is ill, and raising a puppy is hardly a priority for her stressed parents.  If only he can prove to them how much happier he can make them all, Teddy might just find his forever home this Christmas…

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review: I love this book!! It’s like the perfect tale for Christmas, and reminds me of all those heart warming Christmas movies! A puppy finds himself alone in the cold countryside just a week before Christmas. He decided to run away from home, to have a great adventure, but now he feels terrible, cold and lonely, until he meets the Woods family.

This book has such a heart warming story that it’s perfect for any age to read it. Told in the first person with the puppy being the narrator it begins with a quick prologue of the puppy being all alone and beginning to regret its decision to run away. This is then followed by the first chapter, titled ‘Eight Days Until Christmas’, every chapter after that is another day before Christmas. The whole story takes place over the course of just one week but every day is filled with so much happening.

Teddy, as the puppy later becomes known, is a very cute little puppy but is also untrained and doesn’t understand the human world that well. He finds himself on the doorstep of the Woods family home and desperately wants to be a part of their family, but the family have problems of their own and he can’t help but create all sorts of trouble in the way that puppies do. There is something really fun and unique about the story being told from the point of view of the dog and it’s this that really makes the book a fun read. It also puts an interesting perspective on the way humans do things and our interactions with pets and in particular dogs.

As the story progresses you learn about Emily, the Woods’ daughter and how sick she is. Teddy knows he is supposed to be the family dog, but with Emily’s illness the family find it hard enough to take care of their daughter and Teddy has an uphill struggle to convince the family that he is meant to be their dog. I won’t reveal more of the plot but the way the story plays out is just lovely and also very engrossing. Not only does Teddy have to deal with getting the family to accept him but there are also moments with other animals, especially a cat named Martha which led to some funny things happening in the story. There is a lovely backstory to Teddy’s previous life in the first chapter which makes you laugh but also feel for this poor puppy who just wants to be loved and accepted.

I loved reading this story right until it’s lovely end, the fact that so much happens in just one day really drove me on to continue reading and although I wasn’t sure I was going to be that into the book when I started reading it, I soon found I couldn’t put it down, desperately wanting to know what would happen next. The story has some lovely and funny moments, especially when Teddy observes things that humans do or say without understanding them. There are also some tenser, sadder moments which keep you reading until the end to see if things do work out the way you hope.

Although the ending is predictably happy, I really didn’t mind with this book and there are still moments when you don’t know what will happen. The overall story is such an uplifting one though, it’s like the perfect Christmas tale. It not only puts a smile on your face but also makes you tear up at the end too. The book is perfect for any age to read as there’s nothing at all offensive and I think many ages will enjoy this story. Part of me wishes it would be turned into a film just so I could see the cute puppy and the lovely tale unfold!

At the back of the book there’s a Christmas interview with the author, with Christmas related questions, along with recipes not only for human Christmas treats but dog ones too, and how to make a dog toy which is just a wonderful extra to get before Christmas! There is also an added piece of text talking about the history and comeback of the Christmas jumper which I have to say I found interesting as it’s fascinated me how they are popular again after being laughed at when I was young.

I would recommend to anyone who wants the perfect book to read for Christmas. There is nothing bad I can say about this book, it’s a funny, cosy and a heart warming read and perfect for anyone but especially those that love animals. It’s also one of those sort of ‘Christmas miracle’ type stories which make you smile and with a tale told from the point of view of the puppy, it’s just such an amazing and lovely read! Plus the cover is just too cute!!!

-Review first appeared online December 2017 – now republished here.

Do you like books featuring animals?  What about Christmassy books to read at Christmas?  Let me know what you think in the comments below  🙂