The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara RobinsonThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

byBarbara Robinson

Paperback | April 12, 2005

Pricing and Purchase Info

$8.11 online 
$8.50 list price
Earn 41 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Laughs abound in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.” The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids.

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are an awful bunch. They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. And that’s just the start! When the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant, the other kids are shocked. It’s obvious that they’re up to no good. But Christmas magic is all around and the Herdmans, who have never heard the Christmas story before, start to reimagine it in their own way.

This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so special.

Barbara Robinson has written many popular books for children, including The Best Halloween Ever, The Best School Year Ever, and My Brother Louis Measures Worms and Other Louis Stories. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is an ALA Notable Children's Book and was filmed as a television movie.
Title:The Best Christmas Pageant EverFormat:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 7.62 × 5.12 × 0.26 inPublished:April 12, 2005Publisher:HarperCollins

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0064402754

ISBN - 13:9780064402750

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Christmas Classic! I was pleasantly surprised by this little book. My book club read it just before the holidays for a little humour and a shot of nostalgia. I hadn't read it before but ended up really enjoying it! I plan to keep it and read it to my kiddos when they're a little older.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read! I used this book several times over the years in my classroom and it's a hit each time! The first chapter alone gets the kids giggling and excited to find out about what happens next. It's a funny story about a family of troublemaking children who terrorize their classmates, teachers and everyone they come into contact with! By the end, they come to some kind of realization about the true meaning of Christmas. Fantastic read for children and as a novel study in the classroom!
Date published: 2018-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Best Christmas Book Ever! The true meaning of Christmas is explored in this absolutely funny and endearing story. It has been my favourite Christmas story since I first read it 30 years ago, and I still re-read it every year.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Blast From The Past With The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Oh those Herdman kids! The drive everyone in town crazy, they do nasty things to kids in the schoolyard, they swear and cuss and smoke and take the Lords name in vain, and now they have done the unthinkable. They have taken over the annual Christmas Pageant! Quite a predicament this is! All of this is very quickly established, and played with, in the classic children’s story The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. This slim book, only eighty pages with illustrations, first came to life in the pages of McCall’s magazine before reaching its current version in 1971. And it was an instant success, spawning a play, television movie, and multiple sequels. Robinson herself passed away at eighty-five years of age just this past July, creating much remembrance and appreciation online. All well earned. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever tells the humourous tale of a small town with a family of unruly, undisciplined kids called the Herdman’s residing therein. These bestial children, whom every kid in the schoolyard fears, do and say all sorts of horrible things, all the time. The one bastion of safety from these ruffians is the local church, that is until a boy – the little brother of the young girl narrator, falsely brags about all the free food available every sunday at the parrish. This causes the whole clan of Herdman’s to come and take over the sunday school, just when they announce tryouts for the annual Christmas Pageant. The usual kids usually get the usual roles, but the Herdman children, now entranced by the Christmas story, bully their way into the production. This causes controversy, chaos, and carnage for the play, the church, and the town. The young girl narrator is an excellent guide to this craziness since her mother is the one who has had the pageant thrust upon her this year. After endless questions raised by the Herdman’s during rehearsals, the play barely limps into an actual show. With spectacular, fascinating, and touching results. And no, that is not a spoiler, the title alone and the theme kinda gives away the premise. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever works on many many levels. The constant questioning of the Nativity story by the Herdman’s raises legitimate issues, with equally legitimate answers, all used by Robinson to reaffirm the basic tenements of caring religious faith. Also the towns obvious dislike and dismissiveness of these children, and despite all their nasty vile meanness they are simply children, is disheartening. These are the very people the Bible tells them to go after and help, not hinder, and ignite in spirit, not ignore in life. The ending, where the pageant happens and everything changes, brings forth not only transformations in the townsfolk, but also the Herdman’s. The last pages do go very heavy on the religious messaging, but that is to be expected here. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever still rings true with the feeling of love and hope and understanding that every faith holds at its center. It is a modern fable with real meaning.
Date published: 2013-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The most awesome book ever!!!!!!!!!! This book is funny and really helped me figure out the true meaning of Christmas.
Date published: 2013-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Rediscover the Spirit of Christmas The Herdman children are the wildest, toughest children in town and this season, for the first time, they hear about the birth of Jesus. What follows is an unpredictable, hilarious and enchanting tale. The Publishers call this a children's story, but the story will appeal to all ages as it is both funny and deeply touching in a profound yet innocent way. While reading this story of redemption, I both laughed and cried. An absolute must-have for this and every Christmas season.
Date published: 2011-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Hilarious! One of the best books that I have ever read! Would be a great one to read aloud w/children, or frankly, for just anyone to read period! I must confess - I believe that I just may have attended school with this family - in a 4-room school (grades 1 - 8) in Pattonville, Mo. This is really a fantastic holiday read, while target audience is Tweens - it is totally enjoyable by all ages! Definitely a classic!
Date published: 2010-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Still one of the best! I was given this book by my mother over 15 years ago and I still pull it out every Christmas. It's a wonderful story and a great book for parents and kids to share. If you're going to buy your kids a book for Christmas get them this one, they'll keep it for years.
Date published: 2000-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Sure Thing! The best story ever,it will warm your heart. This book is great for all ages. I read it every few years and still find interesting thing I never noticed before.
Date published: 2000-06-15

From Our Editors

Christmas has always been a very special time of year. But the six Herdman children are the terror of their town, and they've just taken over the annual Christmas pageant. This could mean disaster for everyone. What happens instead is a town rediscovering the true meaning of Christmas. This touching book is perfect Christmas reading for young readers.

Editorial Reviews

“Outrageous, lively, funny, and wonderful. The Christmas Story shines through with a new brilliance.”