The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

(Suggested reading level: Grades 3-6)

This is actually the second time Amber (10) and I have read this book. the first time was in 2008 and I don’t think she remembered the story. She really enjoyed it this time around, got a kick out of the Herdman’s antics,but still catching the meaning of the story.

The Herdmans are the worst kids in town. They’re mean, dirty and have a tendency to catch things on fire. They’re also thieves, but they’ve decided to join the Christmas pageant this year. And they get all the big parts because all the other kids are afraid to try for a part that one of the Herdmans wants. Everyone is ready for this to be the worst Christmas pageant, but just the opposite happens. People are reminded about the true Christmas story, not a cleaned up, nicened up version.

They looked like the people you see on the six o’clock news – refugees, sent to wait in some strange ugly place, with all their boxes and sacks around them.

It suddenly occurred to me that this was just the way it must have been for the real Holy Family, stuck away in a barn by people who didn’t much care what happened to them. They couldn’t have been very neat and tidy either, but more like this Mary and Joseph (Imogene’s veil was cockeyed as usual, and Ralph’s hair stuck out all around his ears). (pg. 72)

It’s really a touching story. No wonder kids, and parents, have loved it so much over the years. It tells the Christmas story but through fresh eyes. And it’s a reminder that Christ came for everyone, not just the pretty, nice, well-mannered folks.

This is a classic and one worth reading over and over.

Purchase at Amazon, an Indie bookstore, or The Book Depository.

The Herdmans #1
80 pages
First published 1972

5 out of 5 stars

Challenge: 100+

I’m not sure where our copy came from, but we’ve had it for years, and the above is my honest opinion.