The year is 1960, and, as it is every year, the Christmas pageant at St. John's Episcopal Church is a very big deal. Doug is a shepherd this year, which is better than being a Three King, because, for one thing, you get to carry a stick. But there are problems everywhere. His fellow shepherds are hacking around, which makes Mrs. Elkins yell at all of them; the girl he likes is playing Mary opposite a Joseph who is depressingly smart and athletic and cute; the family dog is doing very poorly, and they have no idea what they're going to tell Doug's little sister Becky, who's playing one of the Host of Angels and who loves the dog more than anything; and his dad's just gotten a flat tire, which means they might not even get to the pageant at all. But Christmas is a time of miracles. And for Doug and his family, this will be the most miraculous Christmas ever.
What a hoot! This fun, little story is reminiscent of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd, or Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb. It's the 1960's (the era of my youth), the familiar Christmas pageant (I remember the year I was finally old enough to be the narrator!) and a Christmas miracle. It's a quick read and rather predictable, but for folks "of a certain age" it's also a walk down memory lane.
My sister gave me this book for Christmas and it was a great "blast from the past" for us to share. The pictures are especially precious. One shot of a 1960's household, decorated in the "in" aqua color, with vintage gifts stacked by the fireplace looks exactly like our grandparent's home. I want to clip it out and frame it! We both had Kewpie dolls similar to the one pictured in the book. This was the January selection for our T&T Book Club - our method of staying connected through reading together - and the perfect laid-back start to the new year.