Allison's Book Bag

Herdmans Ahead!

Posted on: September 30, 2011

After preparing my last few round-ups, I decided they took too much time to do during my teaching year. For that reason, I had planned to limit them to vacations. However, there is also something crazily fun about reading several books in one week. And so, once again this weekend, I plan to prepare a round-up of books. I’ll review all three Best Ever books. Save the date: October 2!

Cover of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever...

Cover of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

“The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.”

Who recognizes this line from a famous children’s book? The book of course is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever! Did you know that this book originated as a short story? Its author Barbara Robinson actually started out as a short story writer. Did you know since the novel’s publication The Best Christmas Pageant has also been turned into a play, a movie, and (most recently) a picture book? If you didn’t know all this, check out my write-up of Barbara Robinson and other authors whom I met this past Saturday at Plum Creek Literacy Festival.

After typing up my notes from the festival, I started searching online for other biographical info about Barbara Robinson. Turns out, not much exists beyond the info I included in my report. So, this week, instead of author info, I’ll  feature a teaser each day from Barbara Robinson’s three books about the Herdmans. For those of you who are already dedicated fans, and so are maybe familiar with the lines, did you know Barbara Robinson is working on a fourth book about the Herdmans? It might be about summer camp, but might be about school again, or…. perhaps, you should drop her a line with some suggestions.

“I couldn’t understand the Herdmans. You would have thought the Christmas story came right out of the F.B. I. files, they got so involved in it–wanted a bloody end to Herod, worried about Mary having her baby in a barn, and called the Wise Men a bunch of dirty spies. And they left the first rehearsal arguing about whether Joseph should have set fire to the inn, or just chased the innkeeper into the next country.”

The above quote is from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Having discovered it during my childhood (the book was first published in 1972), I reread it yesterday for the umpteenth time. Clocking in at eighty pages, it was a quick read. The Herdmans make an unusual holy family!

“…. they got thrown out of the new Laundromat the very day it opened. They planned to wash their cat in one of the machines, but they didn’t know it would cost money, so they just dropped him in and went off to locate some quarters.” Of course, the cat didn’t like it in the washing machine, and it made so much noise hissing and spitting and scratching that the manager went in to see what was wrong.”

The above quote is from The Best School Year Ever. According to Barbara Robinson, she struggled most with writing this book but it’s probably also the most-loved by students. Incidentally, when she thought up the idea of having the Herdmans throw a cat into the washing machine at the laundromat, adults thought it would be a bad example but kids knew that only the Herdmans would do such a dastardly deed.

“So there really wasn’t any last straw, but by the time school finally started, so many people were mad at the Herdmans for so many reasons you knew something was going to happen. ‘It’s got to stop!’ the mayor said … but nobody knew that ‘it’ was going to be Halloween.”

The above quote is from The Best Halloween Ever. The mayor has decided to cancel Halloween. Can you imagine a year without one of our special occasions such as Valentine’s, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, or Christmas? Can you imagine a family so terrible that you’d rather give up one of those holidays than have them around? The principal of Woodrow Wilson decides to hold Halloween at school, but with parents and without treats. How will the students have any fun? How do they end up having the best Halloween?

This weekend, I’ll review all three Best Ever books by Barbara Robinson. Save the date: October 2!

1 Response to "Herdmans Ahead!"

Oh, how I would love another Herdman book!

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