The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Critical Context - Essay

Barbara Webb

Critical Context

Realistic fiction such as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever did not exist prior to the 1970’s, when much of the fiction written for adolescents began to focus on children’s discovery of self and the development of maturity in relation to siblings and peers. Robinson’s book effectively addressed these issues in the 1970’s and continues to do so. The novel was made into a film for television and, in some places, is played on commercial television each December. The film closely follows the book and, instead of replacing it, appears to encourage adolescents to read Robinson’s story. In many schools around the country, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is one of the most popular books to be checked out during the holiday season. It provides students who are not familiar with the tradition of the Christmas pageant with information on its history, while at the same time focusing on family and peer relationships in a modern society. It was also cited on a list of top ten books of realistic fiction for younger adolescents.

Robinson continues to write books for readers in this age range. My Brother Louis Measures Worms and Other Louis Stories (1988) also humorously depicts family situations while at the same time focusing on the very real concerns of adolescents.