Allison's Book Bag

Christmas in the Philippines by Cheryl Enderlein

Posted on: June 17, 2014

Christmas in the Philippines by Cheryl Enderlein is part of an eight-book series aimed at primary grades. Each book runs about thirty-two pages and was written by either Enderlein or by Jack Manning. If Christmas in the Philippines is any indication of what the other seven books are like, Capstone Publishing has created a quality series.

First, the information is interesting and accurate. From Enderlein’s introductory page, I learned that during the Christmas season, the Philippines is called the “Land of Fiestas”. Moreover, Filipinos have one of the most longest and joyful Christmas celebrations in the world, with their festivities running from December 16 through to the first Sunday in January. On the next page, I discovered that for Catholics, the celebration of Christmas is ushered in with the ringing of church bells. Enderlein goes onto explain what symbols, decorations, and activities are important. Further in, I read about how Christmas Eve and Christmas Day themselves are celebrated. For example, grandparents play a special role, gifts are simple and useful, and feasts are integral. The concluding page revealed that songs are also a mainstay, with people singing every night from the start to the end of the Christmas season. Although I couldn’t find anything about Enderlein, I know that her information is accurate due to various online sites which I consulted that backed up and even elaborated upon the content in Enderlein’s book.

There is some information I would have appreciate knowing more about. Enderlein focuses mostly on the Catholic celebrations, which makes sense because they make up about 80% of the population. At the same time, I wondered about how Protestants honor Christmas. From other sources, I learned that schools hold a Secret Santa gift exchange. Given that Christmas in the Philippines is aimed at students, it would have been interesting to read more about how their classroom routines are effected by Christmas. Finally, I kept waiting for Enderlein to offer an explanation of the Feast of Three Kings, which is the last day that Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines. Over all though, there’s a lot of information covered in thirty-two pages.

Second, the text features are somewhat useful and attractive. The book has the standard nonfiction fare of table of contents and index, which provide structure. Sidebars are abundant, but I’m not sure how practical they are due to most of them being definitions of words. This seems redundant, where there’s also a glossary. There’s a Read More section and Internet Sites section. The latter disappointed me, because it just provides the Fact Hound link instead of real sites on the Philippines. Title are in red, which is befitting of the topic. Text is larger size with ample paragraph spacing, making pages easy to read for its intended younger audience. Stock photo are bright, bold, and usually fill a page. Some backgrounds are a pleasant holiday pink, but most are an odd mishmash of colors, with one page being yellow and another gray. Despite my minor complaints about the text features, I mostly like them. There’s even an extra bonus of a Hands-On page, which gives instructions for how to create a Parol, which is a common Christmas decoration in the Philippines.

As I mentioned at the start, Christmas in the Philippines is only one book in a set of eight. Teachers with access to the whole series could make a comparative study of Christmas. Students could compare start and end dates, discuss symbols and activities, and even create decorations which are most important to different countries. With some online research, students could even extend their research to include visual scrapbooks of how Christmas is celebrated.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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