****Jesus' Christmas Party
by Nicholas Allan
Reviewed December 21, 2002.
Random House, New York, 1991. 32 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J 232.92 ALL).
Jesus’ Christmas Party
has been my favorite of our library’s
children’s Christmas books ever since Missy Stanaford pulled it out from
the shelves and made me read it years ago. This week, I used it for
Story Time (Thursdays at 11:00), and was gratified to have all six preschoolers
and toddlers roaring with laughter at my every word.
The book takes the perspective of the innkeeper. He likes his
sleep. One night, a couple knocks on his door and wakes him up.
Since he has no room, he sends them to the stable round the back. Soon
they wake him up again asking for another, smaller blanket. Then some
shepherds wake him up. Then a bright star shines its light over his
house and wakes him up. Next some kings come knocking. Finally
a chorus of angels sings. (Yes, I know, the author didn’t quite get
the order of events right, but it’s close enough.) The innkeeper
gets angrier and angrier with each interruption of his sleep. Finally,
he storms out to the stable to tell these people a thing or two. When
he sees the baby, he is transformed, and next thing you know, he’s waking
up all the guests in the inn to share this wonderful event with them.
The cartoon-like but skillful illustrations add to the simple and light-hearted
story. I especially like the black cloud over the innkeeper’s head
when he’s exceptionally angry. It’s a new way of looking at the wonder
of Jesus’ birth, when God reached down to us and became a tiny baby.
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund. All