What a perfect time to read or reread this holiday classic! And… since it is being made into a new movie, I expect there will be renewed interest and excitement about the book which, by the way, is WONDERFUL! The story starts out by describing the Herdman family with their cussing, lying, stealing, hitting, dirty-talking, cigar-smoking children (even the girls). The Herdmans pretty much terrorize their school and their town on a daily basis. They are known far and wide, and not in a good way. In an effort to get rumored free desserts, they have volunteered to take part in the annual Christmas pageant. Well, with a little threatening and intimidation, they manage to land the very best roles in the pageant — Mary, Joseph, etc. Practically the whole town is up in arms with the prospect, especially Alice Wendleken who always plays Mary and Mrs. Armstrong who always runs the show, but this year promises to be like no other. Since the Herdman children have never really been taken to church, they aren’t at all familiar with this age old story and are very curious to say the least. They find reasons to question seemingly every part of the story, much to the surprise of the grown-ups and the other children. In the end, this unconventional telling makes us all really think about the true meaning of the Christmas story, and the Herdman children’s somewhat goofy, messy, LOUD interpretation really capture the true spirit of Christmas in a way that scores of Sunday school teachers could not.
For such a skinny book, this story really packs a punch, undoubtedly thrown by one of the Herdman children. It brings back childhood memories of Christmas pageants (I was an angel by the way) and that one family in the school or the town that always seemed a little more unkempt and unruly than the rest. What a surprisingly wonderful little story!
Posted by: Mary