It’s Christmas! Shepherds watching flocks by night, angels singing in choirs of exultation, Mary and Joesph trekking to Bethlehem. Well at least that’s how the story goes, right? However, things have all gone a bit awry in Jenny Pearson’s Christmas cracker.
Mum can’t think of anything worse than spending Christmas with her in-laws at Barlington Hall and having to participate in the family nativity performance. But given it is the centenary celebration and with grandfather unwell, mum has relented and the whole family are traipsing off to Chipping Bottom and the stately home of Lord and Lady Cuthbert-Anderson.
Things take an unexpected turn on the first night when Oscar and Molly discover a confused Angel Gabriel out on the lawn. The self-proclaimed ‘chief announcer’ of important news has inadvertently catapulted himself and some significant biblical friends into the twenty-first century and there’s going to be a massive problem if he cannot get everyone back to where they need to be by Christmas eve. Fail to do what’s needed and there’ll never be a Christmas again! Worse than no carrots, no Rudolph, no roast dinner, no carolling, no movies and no chestnuts roasting on an open fire…mum and dad will never meet and that will mean no Oscar and no Molly. Will the kids be able to help an angel in a pickle and fix this merry mess…
Jenny Pearson is the queen of hilarious and heartfelt storytelling and she delivers a tree-mendous story that is a must read over the holidays. She gets kids, she gets families and she gets Christmas, capturing all of the chaos, arguments and family fun that everyone can relate to.
Fun and touching, Operation Nativity is a rollicking adventure to save the first and every other Christmas that will have you ho-ho-ho-ing your seasonal socks off and wiping away the tears with the sleeve of your jingle bell jumper. A fast-paced and unpredictable plot, fabulous characters (big shout-out to Molly who’s honest outbursts are seen as nothing more than wild imagination), and plenty of entertaining black and white illustrations will have readers in raptures.
Saving the fate of Christmas is no easy task for Molly and Oscar who find themselves balancing family activities with a madcap treasure hunt. Watching the kids sneaking around the countryside to locate Gabriel’s friends is absolutely hilarious and there are plenty of hijinks that ensue. If helping the time-travelled gang understand modern day life wasn't hard enough, there’s the small matter of hiding an angel, a shepherd, a wise man and a turkey in the bathroom. When the kids are not involved with their bonkers, fun-filled festive quest they are rehearsing and perfecting their roles in the actual nativity performance, baking cookies and making mince pies with mum, carolling for the neighbours and trying to come to terms with the news that this is likely to be their Grandfather's last Christmas.
As with all of Jenny's stories, there are deeper themes and messages that pull at the heart strings. This time she addresses the importance of making memories, appreciating family, cherishing loved ones, death, and offers the timely reminder that it is not about the presents under the tree, it is about those that sit around it that matter most.
Jenny brings plenty of ‘joy to the world’ and this is more than just a stocking filler, it is festive fun of the finest order!
Recommended for 8+.