41 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Laura L. reviewed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on
Helpful Score: 4
This is one of my favorite books from my childhood! I always enjoyed reading it every year at Christmas time. A great story about the Herdmans and how they made the annual Christmas Pageant the best ever. :)
The book is outragious, lively, funny and wonderful. The Christmas story takes on a srangely moving depth of meaning and shines through with a new brilliance.
It had me laughing so hard I could hardly read. Don't miss this hilarious and touching book. --THe Boston Globe
This, is by far, my family's favorite Christmas book. I know that a friend of mine was hesitant to read it due to the rudeness and crudity of the Herdmans. BUT, after I explained that THAT is what the book is all about, their encounter with the Christmas Story and how it profoundly changes them. I can never read the last chapter without bawling! Shared with my children this past year as a read aloud. It was a touching moment to share with my oldest who totally "got it". DEFINITELY worth reading.
This has been a family classic since I was a little girl, read aloud every Christmas. It's wonderful to see my nieces and nephews enjoying the book now--even the kindergarten ages enjoy it. Never stops being funny and it's very quotable.
Great book for kids ages 8 to 12!
"The book is outrageous, lively, funny and wonderful. The Christmas story takes on a strangely moving depth of meaning and shines through with new brilliance." (Denver Post) Great Christmas gift!
I first read this in school, about 3rd grade I believe, and I have always remembered how much fun it was. I found it again at a library sale, and grabbed it. It's still just as fun, and the descriptions of events and charachters reminded me a lot of Mark Twain. Of course, his works were much longer, and in ways darker, but the author uses the same matter of fact attitude in this book.
The one thing that stood out during this read was how religious the book is. It's not overtly so, but the comments and observations throughout make me wonder how it was that this was approved reading at a public school. As a Christian, I can appreciate it, but as someone who would never tread on another's beliefs, it seems this book would be the basis for a separation of church and state lawsuit today.
... Which is sad because it's a wonderful story, well written, very entertaining, and altogether a terrific read for kids and adults.
The 25th Anniversary of "One of the best Christmas books ever."-Publishers Weekly
"Wiry-tough, tender-hearted, unsentimental, and consistently funny."-The London Sunday Times
A multiple award winning book.
A Harper Trophy Book
I read this to my family and we all loved it! I have loved this story for years and I like to read it every Christmas. I love how it is written from a child's perspective and how she learns more about the Christmas story than she ever knew before, because this year's pageant wasn't the same old thing. The Herdman's are in it this year and they are the town hooligans so everyone expects them to ruin the pageant, but they end up bringing just the right feeling to the night. I highly recommend this book for adults and children alike.
I read this book as a kid and I think I got even more enjoyment out of it as an adult. I read it to my husband because he had never read it before and we laughed so hard together that we were crying! Love it!
From the back of the book: The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain. So it surprised just about everybody when they decided to take part in the town's Christmas pageant.
The Herdmans had never heard of the Christmas story, but the way they interpreted it, you'd think the story of Jesus came right out of the F.B.I. files. (They called the Wise Men a bunch of dirty spies.) It was a Christmas pageant to remember.
The Herdmans are the worst kids in the world. No one is prepared when the Herdmans show up one Sunday in church and want to be in the annual Christmas pageant. The pageant ends up being full of surprises.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a hilarious but touching little story about a family of "hoodlums" that hijacks a Sunday School Christmas program. Now I don't mean just naughty, disobedient children who don't listen. I'm talking about six loud, dirty, cigar-smoking, foul-talking, fire-setting vandals - or to put it in the words of the young narrator - the "absolutely worst kids in the history of the world." All the other kids (and their parents) in the neighborhood do whatever they can to avoid the Herdmans, so when they show up one Sunday at church looking for free food, no one quite knows what to do. And when they start volunteering to take the major roles in the annual Christmas pageant, everyone is sure the result will be nothing less than a disaster.
If you're at all like me and you grew up going to church every Sunday, by the time you were ten years old you knew the story of the birth of Jesus without even thinking about it. Maybe you learned to recite the Luke 2 passage that starts out with, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed..." You knew that Mary was "great with child," that when she and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem there was "no room in the inn," and that the angels told the shepherds they would find the baby "wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." We read the story with our own children regularly at Christmas time and, yes, we had them learn that same passage of scripture.
What I liked about this book is that it makes someone like me realize how much I fail to consider the wonder of the story of Christ's birth and the amazing events surrounding it. I also take it for granted that it is familiar to just about everybody - surely they know who Jesus is and why His birth was so important. Of course, this children's book doesn't discuss the significance of Christ's incarnation at a theological level. But sometimes we can get so caught up in theology and doctrine that we forget to give attention to the simple truths that are so basic and just as meaningful to our faith.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever allows us to take a look at the Christmas story with new, fresh eyes. To stop and consider some questions that we may never have asked before. The Herdmans don't hesitate for one second to ask questions that the other, churched kids, never thought to ask. Who were the Wise Men exactly? What is myrrh, and why in the world was it given to a baby? How could they make Mary sleep in a barn when she was about to have a baby? And whatever happened to that evil King Herod?
At first you may think, these Herdman kids are really disrespectful and irreverent to ask and say some of the things they do. But think about it - they've never been to church or read the Bible ("They don't even know what a Bible is...they never read anything except "Amazing Comics.") But as the program director tells them the story, the narrator notices something amazing:
"I couldn't believe it. Among other things, the Herdmans were famous for never sitting still and never paying attention to anyone -- teachers, parents, the truant officer, the police -- yet here they were, eyes glued on my mother and taking in every word."
Needless to say, the Herdmans definitely bring something unique to the pageant, and somehow it doesn't turn out as awful as everyone feared.
Here's my recommendation: Read this book together as a family. But before reading it, read the second chapter of Luke with your kids, and probably the second chapter of Matthew as well. Even if you think they are pretty familiar with the Christmas story, ask them if they have any questions they would like answered about it. Then read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and talk about the things that the Herdmans bring up.
This is a laugh out loud book. It was a Weekly Reader book so was written from the experience of a young girl about a really rough and tough family of kids who take over the annual Christmas pageant. If you want a quick read that will tickle your funny bone then read this one.