Book: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972)
Author: Barbara Robinson
Genre: MG, Classic
Rating: 5 stars
Basic plot: Every year, the Christmas pageant is pretty much the same… that is, until the Herdmans decide they’re going to be a part of it. And once the Herdman kids decide on something, well… there’s no other way. (At least, not if you value your life.)
1) This book is short and sweet, but it’s just right! All the characters are fleshed out. It’s wonderfully written. In some ways, it reminds me of Beverly Cleary’s books (which makes sense since she was writing at the same time.)
2) I love how the bullies of the story (i.e. the Herdmans) have a nice little arc. They don’t become fully angelic or anything, but the Christmas pageant does have an effect on them. Especially how the Christmas story (one they were unfamiliar with) makes them more human to the other children.
3) The humour in this book is great! I like how the narrator is able to capture all the little quirks of all the characters, like Alice who makes snide little comments throughout the performance all because she really wanted to Mary instead of Imogene Herdman. One of my favourite lines is when Mother (the director) says: “We’ve never once gone through the whole thing… I don’t know what’s going to happen. It may be the first Christmas pageant in history where Joseph and the Wise Men get ina fights, and Mary runs away with the baby.” That perfect encapsulates the whole book!
4) The ham… If you’ve read the book, you know what a mean. But the ham (for me) shows that those Herdman kids have potential after all.
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) Nothing. (Although, some might find the book a bit dated. It was published in 1972, but that never bothers me.)
My rating is 5 Stars (out of 5) – I’ve seen this book around for ages, but I’ve never read it until this year! What was I waiting for? It’s funny and sweet. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun Christmas book.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…