When I was in Infant school, a long long time ago (:D) it was the big kids who did the Nativity in their final year. I dreamed about the day I too reached the grand old age of six and would be up there on the stage shining in my white sheet sewn up by my mother with a tinsel halo round my head. I distinctly remember the day parts were being given out and praying I'd be an angel and not a sheep...and I was! Then the day before the big show I got very sick and missed it, never again getting the chance to give the most angelic performance ever.
So two years later, when my younger brother was given the part of the Innkeeper and struggled to learn that one famous line, I took it upon myself to help. For days we'd act out the whole show at home, with me of course playing the important bits. When his performance came round I remember beaming with pride when he got his line perfectly on cue. Since then I've always had a soft spot for the Innkeeper and it's one of my favourite parts of children's nativity plays.
But just what did that poor Innkeeper make of all those shannigans all those years ago? Well if you've ever wondered you can find out in this delightful and funny picture book by Nicholas Allen. The story is told from his perspective, and the grumpy little soul is non too happy to be woken up in the night not only by Mary and Joseph, but by the shepherds and kings who've lost their way and some very loud divine singing.
What's so brilliant about this book is how it tells a funny story in such simple language and very few words that both children and adults alike will love it. Yet it still gets over the message of Christmas in an unpreaching way so even the least religious amongst us will still appreciate it. With it's hilarious illustrations the story is brought to life and the text is easy enough for beginner readers to have a go at themselves. This book is perfect for children aged from around three who are just learning the Christmas story themselves and is a perfect read aloud book to cuddle in with in the run up to the big day.
Jesus' Christmas Party is a unique spin on the original story of Christmas and has been read over and over again by my daughter since it arrived, who loves shouting out the grumpy Inn keepers lines. The ending leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling just like all Christmas stories should. We loved this book and I think it's one of the best Christmas picture books we own (and we have a lot) Highly recommended!
Published by Random House Children's Books. Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.
There's also a short animation/song from the school musical based on this book...how cute?