ALA Notable Children's Book 1971-1975
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Called one of America's favorite Christmas stories, and now a classic television movie, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever has been a favorite of young readers the world over since 1972. Funny, memorable, and outrageous, it is the story of a family of incorrigible children who discover the Christmas story for the first time and help everyone else rediscover its true meaning.
About the Author
Barbara Robinson was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, and now makes her home in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Allegheny College, Ms. Robinson also received an honorary doctorate of letters from Allegheny.
Ms. Robinson has written several books for children, including My Brother Louis Measures Worms, The Best School Year Ever,and the critically acclaimed and enormously popular The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
The Best Christmas Pageant Everis now a classic TV movie, and the play "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" is produced annually in theaters, schools, and churches all over the country.
Ms. Robinson has two daughters, Carolyn and Marjorie, and three grandchildren, Tomas, Marcos, and Lucas.
In Her Own Words ...
I grew up in a small southern Ohio town, and began writing when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, as a hobby and for fun. I'm happy to say it's still fun today, probably because every book I write has to be a book that I also want very much to read. I'm like the reader who turns the page to see what happens next - except, of course, that the page is blank. But I then get to fill it up with whatever seems exciting, funny, scary, happy or sad ... and with characters who become as real to me as my next-door-neighbors - so real, in fact, that sometimes they just step in and show me 'what happens next.'
Since I'm one of those writers whose story ideas spring more from people than from plot, I spend a lot of time with my characters, so they tend to be people I like to spend time with - even the wild and woolly Herdmans, who inhabit two of my books, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and The Best School Year Ever. I have a special fondness for the Herdman adventures, probably because boys and girls have told me that these are their favorites, and that's the most important thing to me.
Since leaving my small town - though I don't think writers ever really leave the place where they grew up; certainly the flavor of a small town is present in everything I write - I've lived in Pittsburgh, Boston, and, now, in a suburb of Philadelphia where I write, read a lot (boys' and girls' books mostly because they're the best), walk two or three miles a day, watch baseball games and, when the mood is on me, bake terrific cookies!