A classic Sunday School Christmas pageant is acted out by a multiethnic cast of children in this Christmas offering in Englebreit’s signature illustration style.
The pageant begins with a little black girl as an angel reading the passage from Luke that announces that Jesus has been born. The text describes the traditional Nativity story as though a narrator were reading it, with the child performers coming on stage in costume as the story progresses. Mary is an Asian girl, and Joseph is a white boy with red hair and a fake brown beard. One of the wise men is black, and a chorus of angels includes several children of color. The children are dressed in charming costumes with appropriate details, and there are funny little incidents tucked into the illustrations, such as two shepherd girls playing tug of war with a toy sheep and a tiny cow asleep on stage at the conclusion. The girl playing the part of Mary uses a rag doll for baby Jesus, and the final page shows Mary hugging her doll tenderly under the shining star. Though almost every Christian Sunday school puts on a Christmas pageant, there are few picture books that cover this annual holiday event, especially titles accessible to preschoolers.
Children preparing to be in a pageant will enjoy this, as will Engelbreit’s many adult fans. (Picture book. 3-6)