In a traditional, snow-surrounded barn, realistic double-spread paintings show the neighborhood preparing for and presenting a pageant of the Nativity--with children of various ages working on the sets and costumes as well as playing the roles. A playful toddler is cast as the Baby, while the setting allows the inclusion of real animals--though the donkey is cleverly constructed from a little red wagon and a piece of board. Meanwhile, the text, closely paralleling and sometimes quoting the biblical account, tells the Christmas story. Six carols complete with music are also included at appropriate points. Not so wonderfully wrought as Shirley Hughes' books about neighborhood events, but in the same benevolent spirit and with the same popular appeal.