CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 9 . . . . January 6, 2006
Nine-year-old Rachel has a question. And, like any typical nine-year-old, her burning curiosity, her eagerness to know the truth, makes her quest for an answer all-consuming. Her question is this: is it true that at midnight on Christmas eve, all the animals from all over the world are able to talk to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus? This is the story upon which their annual Christmas pageant is based, the pageant in which she and her younger brother Nathan are both taking part. Yet no matter how many adults she asks, none seem able to provide a definite answer. "Maybe it's one of those things that we're not supposed to know for sure," suggests Rachel's father. Miss Tanner, their Sunday school teacher, thinks that "maybe the most important thing is that it's a story we all love to hear." Even their next-door neighbour, Mr. Heisler, has never heard any of the animals on his farm talk, not in real words anyway. Reluctantly, Rachel begins to think that perhaps she'll just have to accept that it really is just a lovely story, nothing more.
However, when the midnight church bells ring out through the frosty night, she knows that she must search for the truth, once and for all, herself. She wakes Nathan, and the two children quietly make their way to Mr. Heisler's barn. There, amongst the barnyard brood, Nathan provides Rachel with an unexpected answer to her question, and a very special gift.
Lisa Doucet is a children's bookseller at Woozles in Halifax, NS.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.