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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972)

by Barbara Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Herdmans (1)

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7,0001101,313 (4.16)1 / 143
The six mean Herdman kids lie, steal, smoke cigars (even the girls) and then become involved in the community Christmas pageant.
  1. 10
    Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. (kathleen.morrow)
    kathleen.morrow: Cheaper by the Dozen is non-fiction, but has a similar sense of humor to it. Both are well-written and hilarious.

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 Name that Book: Need help remembering two YA titles4 unread / 4Kasthu, December 2008

» See also 143 mentions

English (107)  German (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
  mboles | Dec 4, 2023 |
This is yet another well-known children’s book that was around when I was a kid, yet I didn’t read. I remember some of my sisters talking about it, though, and since I definitely read a lot back then, I don’t know why I didn’t read it. I picked it up this year because my daughter was looking for a Christmas-themed book to read for school, and I like to read what she does so we can discuss it. It’s a short read, but so very good!

After a chapter describing the antics of the Herdman children so we know how terrible they are, the book gets going with the narrator’s mom having the annual church Christmas pageant fall into her lap. The narrator, by the way, never has a name, which is quite uncommon, at least in my reading experience. As the Herdmans join the pageant and try to get a handle on their parts and motivations behind them, it’s clear that they’ve never been exposed to this (or probably any) biblical account. Though this is not specifically a Christian book, it presents a scenario that can really make you think. The Herdman children’s antics seem to me to be a cry for love and attention, and rather than turning up their noses and wagging their tongues, the people of the church should have taken the opportunity to teach them about God. I appreciate the patience the narrator’s mom has with them (though that did wane sometimes), even if it is only just so she can prove she can put on a great pageant.

I know these kids are fictional, but I found myself left with a profound feeling of hope that someone would take them under their wing and teach them more about Jesus. I suppose that that alone means that Barbara Robinson did a great job with the characters and emotions in the book. If your upper-elementary child, even a little older than that (my daughter is 12) it looking for a good Christmas book this season, consider checking this out. Some parents are concerned about their kids reading about the unpleasant things the Herdman kids do, but they’re definitely shown in a negative light. A conversation after reading to discuss the bullying is probably a good idea anyway. If you’re interested in the book, I say definitely read it (it won’t take long). ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
First read this when I was 8 years old and I can remember laughing like an idiot. 38 years later and still so many giggles to be had. ( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
A short but heart-melting Christmas tale that gives new perspective on the traditional story of the birth of Jesus Christ. This story demonstrates how anyone, even those who seem unlikely worshippers, can be affected by the knowledge of a loving savior who came to Earth in the humblest circumstances. This is a fun and touching tale suitable for all ages. I think reading this book around Christmastime will be my family's tradition from now on. ( )
  REGoodrich | Jun 22, 2023 |
  WBCLIB | Feb 27, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robinson, BarbaraAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, Judith GwynIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morisse, TorIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabén, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stritch, ElaineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jack, of course
First words
The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.
Everyone had been waiting all this time for the Herdmans to do something absolutely unexpected. And sure enough, that was what happened.
I'm going to make this the very best Christmas pageant anybody ever saw, and I'm going to do it with Herdmans, too. After all, they raised their hands and nobody else did. And that's that.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book; do not combine with the movie.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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

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AR 5.1, 2 pts
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