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The Best Halloween Ever (2011)
by Barbara Robinson
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I didn't read this installment of the series when I was a kid and now reading it as an adult I didn't really like it. The story isn't as strong and the Herdmans do stuff I would consider legit bad (killing animals) instead of just kid bad (stealing food, ect). I also didn't like the attempts at modernization like upping Luellas babysitting wages from 50 cents (in best school year) to 8 dollars! Didn't make a lot of sense. ( )
The first two of Robinson's "Herdman's Tales" were, in my opinion, exceptionally well written and extremely funny. This one had all the earmarks of Robinson's touch but something was lacking in the punch! My boys and I felt it was not as good as the others. Still she is a very creative writer and it will not be a complete waste of time. If you have not read any of her stories about the infamous Herdman children, this will whet your appetite for more. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, is simply superb!
The notorious Herdman kids have stirred up plenty of trouble around town by the time school has started and the adults fear what could happen on Halloween. The mayor cancels Halloween "out of concern for public safety." While it means no worrying about the Herdmans, it also means no trick-or-treating or candy for everyone else. The principal announces an all-school event to celebrate Halloween in a controlled environment. None of the students are thrilled with the sanitized event since they'd rather trick-or-treat and also because their parents are involved. But count on the Herdmans to stir the pot at the party although it's never explained why they did what they did, which wasn't all that big a deal in the end.
Written incredibly well for a children's book with such depth of detail that it left me, an adult, in awe of Robinson's skill. Inventive and fun, The Best Halloween Ever is a joyful ride with pleasant tension, a cast of fully-realized characters, and many moments that make the book sing.
I loved The Best Christmas Pageant Ever when I was a kid, so it was fun to catch up on the adventures of the Herdmans! The author has a wonderful grasp on a mature child's voice and thought processes. Really cute, but not as touching as "Christmas Pageant" of course.
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The Herdmans (3)
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The six horrible Herdman children create mayhem during Halloween.
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