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Publisher's Summary

The six Herdman children are “absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world”. They lie and steal and smoke cigars. They even burned down Fred Shoemaker’s old toolhouse. Now they’re taking over the Christmas pageant.

The Herdmans have never heard the Christmas story before, and they don’t know anything about shepherds or Wise Men. When Imogene hears about the swaddling clothes, she demands to know why anyone would tie up a baby and put him in a feedbox. Leroy, Claude, and Ollie are planning on a gift that means much more than gold, frankincense, and myrrh - the ham from their Christmas basket.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, now also a television movie, has been a favorite of children and their parents since 1972. As C.J. Critt’s spirited narration captures the lively and outrageous spin that the Herdmans put on the Nativity scene, listeners will delight in this unusual and refreshing interpretation of Christmas.

©1972 Barbara Robinson (P)1997 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"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." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Wonderful Christmas Story -

Any additional comments?

I have both copies of this -- the narration by Elaine Stritch is better. It's my favorite of the two. If you're going to purchase one -- get that version. I love the story, love the sentiment. And it's pretty darn funny, too! It's an annual tradition at our house.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

This was one of my favorite stories from my childhood. The narrator did a wonderful job. It reminded me of story time when the librarian read to us.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dennis
  • Western Springs, IL, United States
  • 12-10-17

A Christmas Story the Whole Family Can Enjoy!

Modern Christmas stories that are targeted to adults are almost always romances set at Christmas time, so these would not appeal to most children. Modern Christmas stories targeting the young are not usually stories that adults would enjoy reading on their own. So the ability of Barbara Robinson’s 1972 classic "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to be read with enjoyment by readers of any age is certainly one of the reasons for its enduring and well-deserved popularity. Another reason is the story’s wonderful humor that arises from the situations the story puts its characters in; it is humor that is integral to the story. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever also has characters we already know before we start reading it: the woman who volunteers to run everything and doesn’t want to cede her territory, the overly prim and proper schoolgirl, and a family of unmanageable kids.

Okay, you’ve probably never met any family quite like the Herdmans, but you’ll love meeting them in this book, and seeing how their first interaction with the Christmas story brings about small but very meaningful and believable changes. My favorite part of the book is all the questions the Herdman children have about the Christmas story, and how Mrs. Brady answers them.

C.J. Critt, does a wonderful job of narration, she is a perfect fit for this story. This would make a great story to listen to on a family car ride during the holiday season.

I would love one day for my own Christmas story "Back To Christmas" to have anything like the success and impact of Ms. Robinson’s classic.

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A terrifically fun read, er I mean listen...

Those delightfully dreadful Herdmans are a family favorite at my house and brought to life wonderfully by C.J. Critt! Our family listens every holiday season and just finished it again tonight.

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Great for kids, Heartfelt for adults

What a wonderful story. I loved it as a kid because of the craziness of the characters. I love it as an adult because of the mercy, comparison and understanding of those who are seeing Christ for the first time.

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Best Christmas Story Ever

This story is truly the message you want at Christmas. Children newly introduced to the story of our lord and how it affects them. The Herdmans are ‘that family’ you don’t want your kids to be associating with but the story of Jesus affects them in ways that are unexpected and heartwarming.

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I love this book!

I've loved this book since I was a kid when my dad read it to me and my siblings. Over the years I've read it at least half a dozen times. I am so glad to be able to share it with my kids. The reader is excellent.

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  • Leilani
  • Kaysville, UT, United States
  • 11-29-17

Best Christmas pageant ever is the best Christmas story!!

This is far and away my favorite Christmas book. I’ve read and listened to it more times than I can count. It carries the true meaning of Christmas with a light hearted laugh. Masterfully done

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Heartwarming and Convicting

This story opens one's eyes to how miraculous the birth of Jesus is, and reminds one that there is no such thing as someone who shouldn't hear the Gospel.

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Beautiful interpretation of the story of Christmas

I loved this. The narrator sees all of the characters in a new way by the end. The author does a wonderful job of making the Christmas story very real.