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.
©1972 Barbara Robinson (P)1995 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"One of the best Christmas books ever." (Publishers Weekly)
"Don't miss this hilarious and touching book." (The Boston Globe)
I love the story. It's hilarious and yet heartwarming. Everyone knows kids like the Herdmans, and the way the narrator tells it, you can't help but laugh. An adorable, quick listen.
A must for any class!!! This book is a great way to study characterization and differing cultures around Christmastime. The Herdmans are so terrible, they are lovable. I agree that the recording is a little fuzzy at times, but if you are following along with a book, it is quite easy to understand. Overall a great buy! Happy listening!!!
P.S. This is NOT an abridged version; it is complete in its entirety.
This is a story along the lines of "The Little Drummer Boy" or "A Christmas Carol" wherein a societal outsider is brought into the fold by the story of Christmas. The outsiders in this case are wrong-side-of-the-tracks fatherless children who end up barging into and taking over the local church Christmas pageant. The funniest parts are the tales of the Herdman kids' extensive history of delinquincy, as well as their naive takes on a story they've never heard before. The other adults and children and their outlooks are nicely realized. Best of all was the narrator: She had the perfect character voice for this type of story, like someone's grandma recounting a memorable slice of her adolescence. I listened with two early teens, who laughed all the way through.
This story, timeless in subject and quite memorable all by itself (which is why I gave it at least two stars) is fatally marred by a terrible recording. The words are barely distinguishable in places and the distortion distracts so badly that a couple of times I almost shut it off in favor of other, better Audible recordings. Audible should remove this version from its inventory and find a better, higher-quality recording. Either that or refund the money of those who purchased this lousy rendition of a wonderful short story. Go look for a better recording; do not purchase this one. You will regret doing so if you do.
FYI, I listened to this on a Sony Home Theater piece of equipment, used with Blu-Ray disks, and an iPod for a recording medium.
It only takes listening to 15 seconds of the narration of this book to know you must hear the whole thing. There is another audio version of this book with a different narrator. This version with Elaine Stritch is the far superior choice. Her performance is hilarious. I listened to this with my kids over the Christmas break and they thought it was hysterical. In addition to being very funny, the story also has a beautiful and deeper storyline about Christmas that really makes it a book worth listening to over and over again. Listening to this book has been added to our list of Christmas traditions.
I don't usually choose abridged editions, but this one is done so well that the spirit and the humor survive intact.
I love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and listen to it at least once every December. Every year I get caught up in the story and groan when the Heardman kids show up but by the end of the story... well, listen and see what happens to you.
"Highly Recommended Pre Xmas Listen"
I've given this 4 rather than 5 stars because the quality of the audio is poor.The story itself is great,funny and clever with some poignant moments,and Elaine Stritch is a good narrator.Since I first read the book (which was recommended by a friend in the USA) it has become one of my favorite light pre xmas reads.
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