"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson

My book club read this for our Christmas selection this year. I was surprised when I heard someone mention it because I read it many years ago and haven't really heard much about it since. In the early 80's we turned it into a play for the children's concert at our church and my daughter played the role of Gladys. At the time I thought it was rather a brilliant bit of character casting; if you read it you'll understand. My little girl is all grown up now and has two girls (14 and 9) of her own, but this book brought back a lot of great memories.

I don't know if anyone is reading this book anymore but it really is worth the couple of hours you'd have to invest. It's entertaining, sweet and funny and it's a Christmas book so of course it has a happy ending. Sometimes it's a bit over the top, but that also is expected in a Christmas book.

The story centers on a nativity play being put together by a harried church member who has to include in the cast a family of children who are unchurched, uncouth and unpredictable. They are refreshingly imperfect and outspoken (even swearing a couple of times), but that's easy for me to say because I'm just the reader. I'd have pulled my hair out as the poor woman who had to cope with it all and come up with something presentable for Christmas Eve.

 If you get a chance to read this one over the holidays I'm sure you'll be glad you did. It would also make a great gift or stocking stuffer for someone else. I've heard there's a movie based on the book but I haven't seen it. Maybe next year.


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