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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Press:HarperCollins HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 12, 2005)
Publication Date:1988-9-7
Author Name:Barbara Robinson


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.


"One of the best Christmas books ever."-- "Publishers Weekly"

From the Back Cover

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. 
They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids.
So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before.
Their interpretation of the tale -- the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating -- has a lot of people up in arms.
But it will make this year's pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

About the Author

Barbara Robinson has written several popular books for children, including My Brother Louis Measures Worms, The Best School Year Ever, The Best Halloween Ever, and the enormously popular bestselling novel The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, first published in 1972, which was made into a classic TV movie and on which this book was based. 
The play The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is produced annually in theaters, schools, and churches all over the world.
Robinson has two daughters and three grandchildren.

From AudioFile

Barbara Robinson's 1972 story of the rotten Herdman family, who take over the annual church Christmas play, is still fresh, avoiding preachiness and achieving heartwarming hilarity. 
Elaine Stritch shares all of it like the best small-town gossip, and the voices of kids and grown-ups alike are real and, more importantly, funny.
Events reel out at a breakneck pace, but Stritch's narration stays steady and in control.
The whole family's guaranteed to laugh (but perhaps adults, who may find the antics achingly familiar, most of all), and there's every reason for listening to THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER to become an annual holiday tradition.
© AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Children's Books,Holidays & Celebrations,Christmas,Classics,Humor

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Comment List (Total:18)

  •     Ronan O'Connellthe book takes place at the herd mans house and the church. the book is about a Christmas pageant at thechurch. Herd mans are very bad kids who smoked and said bad words. the only reason that the herd mans were even interested in church is because one of them herd that you get food there like chocolate cake but they do not get snacks at ccd the kid was just lying to sound cool to the herd mans witch did not work because the herd mans wanted to join the church so they did then they were in the Christmas pageant and the problem was that all the kids and adults thought that they were going to ruin the Christmas pageant. But in the end they did not ruin it and it turned out to be okay. overall I really liked the book and I would recommend it.

  •     One of my all time favorite kid books. I bought this to read to my kids before seeing the play. They loved it.

  •     If you had never heard the Christmas story than this just might be the way you would think it should be. Leave it to the Heard men to show the way Christ should really be.

  •     This is such a fun book! I have read it to my Grandchildren and they love it, and so did I!

  •     In my humble opinion, the very best Christmas story ever. EVER!

  •     Perfect novel for homeschooling in December. Had read the Halloween one in October. Looking forward to the Best School year ever next

  •     This book is an annual read for me. I love the way the story brings out the humanism of the Savior's birth. It reminds me that His birth wasn't the sanitary and immaculately unrealistic birth we seem to imagine. Joseph and Mary were real people with real feelings and they lived in the real world. The stable would not have been clean and had an abundance of fresh clean straw. Not with the crowds of people and animals that were there to be taxed. Barbara Robinson did a wonderful job of bringing out the reality of the conditions surrounding the Savior's birth through her insight that is so beautifully woven into this book. It will remain on my annual list of books to read at Christmas time for as long as I can continue to read, and after that I hope to be able to listen to it from a recording of some sort. I highly recommend this book to everyone that is searching for a story that will bring out the true meaning of Christmas.

  •     I wish it was a hardback. But the book is very good!

  •     Love it!

  •     Book was righted in.

  •     This was my daughters favorite story and now it's her daughters favorite story.That makes it a 3 generation story, since it's one of my favorites too

  •     This is a timeless Christmas story. My mom read it to me when I was young, and I have read it to my kids a couple times. It is a wonderful story about the meaning of Christmas. It is really beautiful. The end of the story brings a little tear to my eye every time. If you have kids or grandkids, but this book and read it at Christmas-time. It's fairly short... We read it in about a week, reading a chapter or so every night. You won't be disappointed. (I bought this copy for a friend's family.)

  •     This book has been out for years and I still reread it every few years. It's told from the prospective of a young girl, about 10 or 12 years old. Her church has a busybody who runs everything. When the woman gets hurt, they farm out all the things she's got going (the Potluck Supper, etc) to various other ladies. The mother of the girl who's telling the story gets stuck with the Christmas Pageant. Things are going as usual until the Herdmans show up. The Herdmans are the worst kids in the whole history of the world. Things go downhill from there, with hilarious results. But, in the end, everyone is shown a deeper meaning to the Christmas Story; one that they had forgotten in the bustle of busyness. It makes a good book to read and it also makes a good movie to watch. The movie stars Loretta Swit (of M*A*S*H) who plays the part of the woman forced to run a Christmas Pageant perfectly. Both book and movie are classics and old favorites in my family.

  •     I first read this book about 20 years ago when I read it aloud to my class of seventh grade students (I taught in a Church-run school). It is hilarious! I had to stop reading several times because the visual images it gave me were just too funny and I was laughing so hard I couldn't speak coherently. It is a memory I cherish. I was so glad to find a copy of it on Amazon. I read it again and the humor is still there.The story is told from the point-of-view of a young girl remembering a year her mother reluctanly took the responsibility for the church's children's Christmas program when a group of neighborhood brothers and sisters without much parental guidance, without soap, without manners manages to take over the main roles of the holy family. These kids just do not fit the traditional mold. Anyone who has worked with a children's church program has encountered their own "Herdman" kids and will nearly die with laughter. If you've never read it before (or seen the poorly made-for-tv movie version of it) this is fall-on-the-floor funny.

  •     I was sitting in class (seminary) one day and we were discussing the angle of the Lord. I couldn't help but shout out, SHAZAM! People around me looked like I was nuts, until I explained that it was from a great children's book. Since then, I have had to buy a couple copies to give to friends- for them to read, enjoy, and give away or read to the children in their lives. The theology isn't perfect but when is a child's theology perfect? It is interesting to see Christmas to children who have never heard of the story/birth of Jesus. There are things that I too wondered as a kid but was too afraid to ask. Great book to use as discussion about many topics with kids and not just about religion. With so much talk about bullying, this book can lead to many open discussions about the bullies in our lives.

  •     I love this story, i read it EVERY Christmas. my only complaint is that the drawings from the book at the beginning of each chapter are not included in the digital copy.

  •     This is a wonderful chapter book we read as a family (kids aged 13, 11, 6, 4, and 2)each Christmas. It's only 7 chapters though they are fairly long. It tells the story of the horrible Herdman children and how they learn about the story of Christmas and help others feel the real spirit of the season by participating in the local church's Christmas pagent. We all find ourselves laughing out loud throughout the story and I (being Mom) always cry at the end though there is still plenty of laughs. Despite the use of the taking of the Lord's name in vain twice (by the Herdmans and immediently frowned upon by the others), I don't think there is another book so funny and enjoyable that teaches so many wonderful life lessons and brings in the real meaning of Christmas than The Best Christmas Pagent Ever.

  •     Had heard this book was very funny so I purchased it as a gift for my eight year old granddaughter. She loves to read and I'm hoping she will enjoy it.


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