A Night of Great Joy

Mary Engelbreit. Zonderkidz, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-310-74354-5
An elementary-school Christmas pageant plays out with warm humor in Engelbreit’s (The Night Before Christmas) holiday offering. The author’s cherubic characters perform the Nativity story using rudimentary props that will trigger smiles: a robed Joseph with a comically fake beard pulls Mary in a red wagon outfitted with a donkey head, a rocking horse and a rubber duck keep watch in the stable, the newborn Jesus is a rag doll, and stuffed animals fill in for sheep. The narrative is a straightforward, pared-down version of the biblical tale, without dialogue, which leaves the pictures to showcase the children’s personalities (two shepherds fight over a toy lamb, a prima donna’s antics irk her fellow angels, and a costumed cow falls asleep as the Wise Men arrive). The Nativity tale is one of great things born out of humble circumstances, a theme that dovetails perfectly with the homespun staging of the children’s production. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/26/2016
Release date: 10/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Board Books - 28 pages - 978-0-310-75745-0
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