This is one of the only books that I re-read every year. It’s not December or Christmas until I sit down and read through this little book – and I still have the battered copy that I received as a gift in elementary school… 30ish years ago.
It’s the story of a small town cookie-cutter, same-every-year, church Christmas pageant. The same sweet and innocent girl plays Mary every year, there are the shepherds in bathrobes, toddler angels, and traditional carols.
But this year, the Herdman kids force their way in; they’re a group of siblings that terrorize the town. With next to no parental supervision, they have become bullies and petty criminals… and they only end up in church because they’ve heard rumours of free snacks.
But when they bully their way into all the main parts of the pageant, it ends up being less polished and perfect, and more of a beautiful and accurate picture of what that first Christmas must have really been like. Mary is overly protective of baby Jesus, threatening a black eye to anyone who gets too close. The first family looks like a refugee family likely would – tired, scared, and in need of safety. The angel bringing the good news shouts it like an action movie, and really does terrify the shepherds.
It’s a quick read, and one that I’d recommend as an early chapter book for young readers in your life. It’s funny, but also sweet and heartwarming at the same time.
And that my friends, gets me in just under the wire for my first Cannonball ever! As someone who has attempted this many times, and always given up or gotten too far behind on reviews, I’m super pumped that it happened! Still hoping to sneak in another one or two books before year end, after the Christmas craziness settles down… but it’s a great feeling to not have the pressure of NEEDING to. 🙂