'The Infant Nativity Play', 'The Visitation', 'The Woodcarver', 'Balthazar' and 'A Yorkshire Nativity' from A Wayne in a Manger by Gervase Phinn
Short Story Collection (2005)
School nativities are happening about now, so I think children will enjoy this on perhaps the very day of their own star turns as Mary, Joseph, Wise Men etc., or whatever else they're doing at their respective schools. Phinn's humorous observations about school Christmases are cleverly written, without embellishment, so that the funny things children say and do speak for themselves. It took me less than an hour to read the hole collection, I figured I could pick out as many favourites as I wanted to. The three stories in the middle are - I think - the best that typify the book, while the first gives an overview of what to expect, and the last introduces a poignant change in tone without straying from the overall feel of the collection. It makes me feel nostalgic for the days of classic, well-run primary school life, and the author knew what he was doing when he added the snippets of Yorkshire dialect.
'There was a slight pause before she replied. "I am having a baby - oh, and it's not yours." '
Gervase Phinn, A Wayne in a Manger (Penguin, 2006), p.53.