Wishin' and Hopin' is Wally Lamb's entry in the Christmas novel genre, reminiscent of Jean Shepherd's In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash on which the classic movie "A Christmas Story" is based. Lamb's version is set in a 1960s Catholic school, St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School in New London, Connecticut, during the time that "subscription television" is a new concept, which Felix helpfully suggested, ". . . would be like going to a store and buying water instead of just getting it out of the sink."
Lamb's main character is fifth grader Felix Funicello, whose third cousin is the famous Annette Funicello of Mouseketeer fame. Felix's father is manager of a bus station diner, and his mother the state winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Characters from his classroom include his buddy Lonnie, his nemesis Rosalie Twerski, and a foreign student from the USSR (this was set during the Cold War) named Zhenya. When Madame Frechette, one of the two "lay" teachers at the school decides her grade will perform tableaux during the Christmas pageant, all manner of hijinks ensue.
Wishin' and Hopin' is a light but fun read for the holiday season. Published in paperback in 2010, the hardcover version was published in 2009 by HarperCollins.