It is the week before Christmas, and Frances is to be an angel in the Christmas Pageant. She will be wearing a beautiful white robe and a halo. She will even have wings. Frances' angel will be the one to bring good tidings. She should be excited, but she's not. Frances can't concentrate on the Christmas pageant because she is worried.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10 KJV
From her window Frances has seen, in the cold snowy streets outside, an organ grinder and his little monkey. The monkey wears a sequined vest, and they glitter and flash. He holds a little tin cup out to people who walk by.The songs sound sad and far away, like the music from a dream. The organ gringer's eyes are sad too.
"Where do they go at night?" Frances asked.The organ grinder and his monkey are still on their street corner when Frances and her mother walk carefully down the snow-covered steps on their way to the pageant. All that day it has snowed. Frances runs forward and drops a nickel into the monkey’s cup. She invites him to see the play.
"Who?" said her mother.
"That man and his monkey."
"Oh Frances," said her mother. "Don't ask me questions that I can't answer. I'm sure they go somewhere. Everyone goes somewhere."
"But where?" said Frances.
"I get to wear wings, and I have one line to say. Do you want to hear it?"At the church everyone else is in costume. Frances hurries into hers too. The choir director whispers, "Now."
But Frances just stands there. The words will not come. "Say it," whisper the others. But Frances cannot speak. All she can think of is how cold it is outside and the sadness in the organ grinder's eyes.
The world is quiet and everybody waits...
This sweet tender story of a compassionate child who wants to share the joy of Christmas is one of my favourites. Everything Kate DiCamillo writes is magical and Great Joy is no exception. Bigram Ibatouilline's ethereal artwork makes it just perfect.
It really does bring the reader great joy.