i know, i know. what’s a nice jewish girl like me reading a book like this to her kids?
barbara robinson penned this classic way back in 1972. since then, she has written two more in the series about the six awful Herdman children and how they disrupt life among not just the kids but the entire small-town Ohio community. the Herdmans steal. the Herdmans threaten. the Herdmans are terrible to their insane cat. the Herdmans, left to their own devices by an absentee mother (who chooses to work two shifts at her job, and most of the parents cannot blame her), manage to set fire to things, shut down events, and even paint poor little Howard’s head.
it sounds tragic. but it’s a hoot!
robinson has a dry wit that permeates every bit of this book. you have the bored children, who could care less about the pageant. you have the narrator’s beleagured mother, who gets roped into heading up the pageant this year after the Queen Bee Mother Who Runs Everything (and you moms out there know exactly the type i’m talking about) gets hospitalized. and, of course, you have the Herdmans — six over-the-top children who have never stepped foot inside a church and who, through the oddest of circumstances, end up playing all the lead roles.
if you are looking for a book that de-commercializes christmas in a humorous, lighthearted, but incredibly meaningful way, this is it. this is the literary accompaniment to linus van pelt’s speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas. i’m not even christian, but i can appreciate that. and this is all delivered in a non-preachy, frankly hysterical way that appeals to adults and kids alike.
(BC is still running around the house, proclaiming: HEY! Unto YOU a child is BORN! read the book, and you’ll find out why.)
hey ms. robinson — there are a lot more school holidays. PLEASE write more about the Herdmans!!!!!
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Best School Year Ever
The Best Halloween Ever