Friday, December 14, 2012

Flashback Friday: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain. So it surprised just about everybody when they decided to take part in the town's Christmas pageant. The Herdmans had never heard of the Christmas story, but the way they interpreted it, you'd think the story of Jesus came right out of the F.B.I. files. (They called the Wise Men a bunch of dirty spies.) It was a Christmas pageant to remember . . .    

Called one of America's favorite Christmas stories, and now a classic television movie, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" has been a favorite of young readers the world over since 1972. Funny, memorable, and outrageous, it is the story of a family of incorrigible children who discover the Christmas story for the first time and help everyone else rediscover its true meaning.     Quoted from Goodreads


I've been looking back at Holiday books I loved as a kid, and the one that stands out is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  Yes, it's a kid's book, or maybe middle grade, but still, it's hilarious.  It starts out as funny, but by the end it turns into one of the most touching Christmas stories.

The book doesn' take very long to read, maybe an hour at most, depending on your speed. I think my mom first read this to me as a little kid, and it's just continued on from there.

I love the way this book characterizes different people.  We have the "bad" Herdmans, who ultimately end up teaching everyone a little bit about Christmas.  In contrast, we have the "good" church people, who try their hardest, but seem to be going through the motions more than actually thinking about they story they are trying to portray.  I especially enjoyed the contrast between Imogene and Alice.  Both wanted to play Mary, and while Alice may have looked the part, it ends up being Imogene who brings the story to life.

This book is a fantastic 4.5 stars for me.  While 40 years is not quite A Christmas Carol, it's still a pretty impressive record.  And the time period doesn't really matter. The story itself is timeless.  Honestly, I probably read this story every other year to get me into the Holiday spirit, and each year it gets better and better.

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