The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Paperback | September 7, 1988

byBarbara Robinson

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Hey! Unto you a child is born!

The Herdmans are absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie and steal and smoke cigars (even the girls). They talk dirty, hit little kids, cuss their teachers, set fire to Fred Shoemaker's old broken-down toolhouse, and take the name of the Lord in vain. So no one is prepared when the Herdmans invade church one Sunday-and decide to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of them has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation -- the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating-- has a lot of people up in arms. But the actual pageant is full of surprises for everyone, starting with the Herdmans themselves.

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From Our Editors

The six mean Herdman kids lie, steal, smoke cigars (even the girls) and then become involved in the community Christmas pageant.

From the Publisher

Hey! Unto you a child is born!The Herdmans are absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie and steal and smoke cigars (even the girls). They talk dirty, hit little kids, cuss their teachers, set fire to Fred Shoemaker's old broken-down toolhouse, and take the name of the Lord in vain. So no one is prepared when the ...

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.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:96 pages, 7 × 4.19 × 0.24 inPublished:September 7, 1988Publisher:HarperCollins

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:006447044X

ISBN - 13:9780064470445

Appropriate for ages: 8 - 11

Customer Reviews of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Reviews

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

Extra Content

From Our Editors

The six mean Herdman kids lie, steal, smoke cigars (even the girls) and then become involved in the community Christmas pageant.

Editorial Reviews

“One of the best Christmas books ever.” (Publishers Weekly)