The pageant reminds young readers of why we celebrate Christmas.
Everyone at the local church is expecting a Christmas children's pageant exactly like those of years previous. When the Herdmans, the meanest kids in town, suddenly come to church and grab all the main parts, interest picks up in the performance specifically because no one knows what will happen! Will the production still communicate the message of Christmas?
Because everyone knows the 'shock and awe' way the Herdmans behave, other kids tend to compare themselves to them. This attitude is discouraged by the narrator.
The Christmas story is presented in the book and it mentions things in the Bible.
There is shoving and bullying.
Drug and Alcohol Content
One kid smokes tobacco. Smoking is discouraged in the book by the narrator.
One character has an aversion to the word "pregnant" [p. 42] which might confuse children.
Crude or Profane Language or Content
One of the Herdmans takes God's name in vain.
Since all the main characters of the Pageant have never heard the Christmas story, this book humorously explains points in a way children can understand.