Great Joy

Great Joy

by Kate DiCamillo

illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2007

28 pp.

Age: 4+

Interests: Christmas, Christmas pageant

Also by this author: Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, Mercy Watson early chapter book series

Set in the 1950s in a large city, this is a story of a small girl preparing to play an angel in her church Christmas pageant while wondering about the organ grinder and monkey in the street below her apartment. They seem to be homeless – she wants to invite them to supper but her mother sternly nixes the idea. So instead she invites them to the pageant, and they come, walking in the door just as she delivers her exultant line “Behold! I bring you tidings of great joy!”

A story of hospitality and inclusion in the holiday season. Understated, simply told, lushly, beautifully illustrated. No moralizing, just a wonderful story of someone seeing the ‘invisible’ people in our society and caring about them. A perfect theme for Christmas.

(This title available at


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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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