Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

I recommend this book for: grade 4 and up

Yes, I know that Christmas was a week ago, and that this book is a classic that has been around for longer than I have. However, I didn't read it until a few weeks ago, so maybe there's someone else out there who needs to know - this book is fantastic.

The unnamed narrator is a young girl whose mother is in charge of the church Christmas pageant. It is much the same every year, until the Herdmans show up. Who are the Herdmans? Six siblings who terrorize the town, smoking cigars, dispensing beatings, and generally scaring the pants off of every other kid they meet. So when the Herdmans show up at church (they were told that there were refreshments, otherwise they never would have bothered) and decide that they want to be in the Christmas pageant, none of the other kids are brave enough to volunteer for the main roles. Just like that, the church pageant is full of Herdmans and everyone is predicting disaster.

What happens, though, isn't a disaster at all. The new perspective these kids - who have never heard of Jesus - bring to the story makes everyone agree that the performance is the best Christmas pageant ever. Hilarious and touching, I can see why this is such an enduring classic.


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