Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Favorites: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

For once, I'm actually going to review a book. This particular book is very special to me, because it's one my grandmother and I read every Christmas. We'd pull it out and read it out loud and laugh, and laugh, and laugh. If you've never heard of it, I recommend getting a copy. You won't be sorry. So, without further ado:

The book is told from the first-person narration of an unnamed school age girl. It tells the story of her family, the small town they live in, and her church's Christmas pageant. It also tells the story of the Herdman kids. The Herdmans are, according to the author, "the worst kids in the history of the
world". All six of them have mischievously terrorized practically everyone in town at one time or another, including each other. Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys all live in an old maintenance garage at the end of town. They try and squish one another with the garage doors, they have an almost demon-possessed cat, they have absolutely no respect for authority, and they've violated so many rules that everyone speculates that most if not all of them will end up in prison eventually.

Through a rather convoluted series of events, they're also the entire main cast of the town's church Christmas pageant. The entire town is coming to see it, too, just to see what the devious little miscreants will do to the time-honored portrayal of the holy family. That is, if the play even gets performed at all. Between chaotic rehearsals, a jealous diva, and a cavalcade of petitioning parents demanding the Herdmans be thrown out completely, there may not be a Christmas pageant this year, let alone the best one ever.

For those who haven't read it, I won't spoil too much. For those too lazy to read the book (which actually isn't very long), there is a movie version of it. But the funniest parts of the book are mostly in the narration, so a lot of nuance is lost in the film version. You'd still get the basic plot but it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable. You can watch the whole movie below if you like (it's just under an hour long) but I really recommend getting the book on this one. I can almost guarantee that if you do, it will become a favorite family tradition.


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