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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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From the bookshelf

When I was a child, my family put on Nativity plays. Not only was it a fun way to learn the Christmas story, it could be funny. (Who can keep a straight face with a bathrobed brother "galumping" in on a pretend camel?) In Granny Mae's Christmas Play, you can read a delightfully funny story about another family's homemade pageant.

 Bob Hartman writes about Christmas Eve at Granny Mae's house. Granny gives family members paper bags with their parts, lines and costumes — from bathrobes and old shirts to socks for animal ears and paws. They then traipse throughout the house and outside, stopping along the way to act out the Christmas story.

This book is a fun way for kids to learn the Nativity story. They'll love the humor and the whimsical art. For example, Grandpa, who wears pointy cups as cow horns, makes a joke about his '65 Mustang in the garage-turned-stable. Much to Granny's dismay he says: " Look ... pointing to himself and then the car, a cow and a horse."

The book also gives hints on how you can put on a play, such as: "Choose your actors carefully. For instance, you'll need someone with a strong back and a good sense of humor to play the donkey." (Order from Augsburg Fortress, Publishers; www.augsburgfortress.org; 800-328-4648; ISBN 0806640634).

 For a good way to keep track of the days leading up to Christmas, try the Glow in the Dark Advent Sticker Book (Order from www.amazon.com; ISBN 0825472334).

This book, for ages 3 and up, features 60 reusable, glow-in-the-dark stickers (I tested it — they work).

Each day of Advent, kids can learn part of the Christmas story and add a sticker to a large color poster. To add to the fun, each day includes a project (making cards, learning an alphabet game) or fun fact (the first known Christmas card was sent in 1843 by an Englishman named Henry Cole).


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