Morag offers us a Christmas classic from the junior collection:
If you are looking for a wonderfully funny satirical story to share with your family or church over the holidays – this story is recommended for ages 8 and up: a beloved wacky, witty, fast moving classic since 1972. Six wild children, the Herdman children teach a church congregation the true meaning of the biblical Christmas story.
The narrator’s mother suddenly (and reluctantly) takes over the planning of the yearly Christmas Pageant from the church’s born organizer “who does everything at the church except preach.” However, she is severely challenged when all six Herdman children start coming to Sunday school and are the only volunteers for the main roles in the play – Mary, Joseph the three wise men and the Angel of God. These six children are known to be cigar-smoking arsonists, liars and thieves and none of them have ever been to church before and know nothing about the Christmas Story.
In a hilarious and thought-provoking way the Herdman family act out the pageant in their own way – The “Herdman” way, with some thoughtful direction from the narrator’s mother. When Imogene and Ralph Herdman enter the church, on the night of the pageant as Mary and Joseph “they stood there looking like refugees.” Imogene has the baby doll slung over her shoulder and thumps it twice on the back before putting it in the crib. “Jesus could have had colic.”
When Gladys Herdman, the angel of God appears she hollers “hey, unto you a child is born,” and the boy shepherds really tremble in fear as they are truly afraid of her. The three wise men appear bearing the Herdman’s ham from their yearly charity basket – they want to bring something useful, not frankincense or gold or myrrh.
At the end of the pageant the Herdmans and the whole church congregation learn about true meaning of Christmas and everyone agreed it was “The best Christmas pageant ever.” “One of the best Christmas books ever” – Publisher’s Weekly