Nobody was able to name the author of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in last Monday’s quiz.
They’ve missed a treat because this little book (108 pages) is a gem.
The narrator is one of the quiet kids whose mother gets landed with producing the annual nativity play when the woman who’s done it for ever breaks a leg.
The day that parts are being chosen the Herdmans, lured by the promise of food, turn up and bully all the other kids into letting them have the main roles.
Other parents aren’t happy but the more they question, the more the producer is determined to produce the best Christmas pageant ever.
She does it both in spite and because of the feral children who bring a whole new meaning to a very old story and help the other characters, and the reader, see Christmas with fresh eyes.
It’s a delightful story told with warmth and humour; enhanced by the narrator whose genius for understatement provides an object lesson in the art of show-don’t-tell.
I’ve read this book to very young children and given it to grandparents.
It’s one of the books on my annual-read list and I re-read it at about this time every year to get me in to the spirit of Christmas.
The Best Christmas Present Ever by Barbara Robinson, published by Harper Trophy. (The sticker on the back says $14.95 but my copy was bought years ago so it will probably cost more now).