Robinson, Barbara "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" (aka "The Worst Kids in the World") - 1972
I first learned about this book when my son played Charlie Bradley in a school play. Since we are quite the book family, we went and bought the book to read. It was just as fantastic. I think every child should read this story.
You can learn in this play what Christmas is all about, what it really means. Not about who has the tallest tree and the most presents, who has the best grades and the largest house. But about a little child being born more than 2,000 years ago and people are still talking about it.
The story is both unusual, even unconventional and hilarious. A lovely plot with a happy end. A good Christmas story.
From the back cover:
"Comedy / All Groups / 4m, 6f, plus 8 boys and 9 girls In this hilarious Christmas tale, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids - probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won't believe the mayhem - and the fun - when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on! This delightful comedy is adapted from the best selling book and the only story ever to run twice in McCall's Magazine.
'An American classic.' -McCall's Magazine '
One of the best Christmas stories ever - and certainly one of the funniest.' - Seattle Times"
"Hey! Unto you a child is born!"
Meet the Herdmans--they lie, cheat, and love to give clonks on the head. They are, without a doubt, the worst kids in the history of the world. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.
None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus--it's all news to them. So they're convinced that the Wise Men should bring pizza and that the Angel of the Lord is straight out of a comic book. Everyone worries that this year's pageant will be horrible (just like the Herdmans!), but they are sure to make it the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.
Adapted from the beloved novel of the same name, this sparkling picture-book version is perfect for younger children. They will delight in the antics of the terrible Herdmans, who surprise everyone when they capture the true meaning of Christmas."