The beloved novel about the ultimate church Christmas pageant is abridged for a younger audience or shorter holiday storytimes, with charming watercolor illustrations that bring the crowd of Herdmans to life.
Robinson’s classic tale, first published in 1972, relates the story of the six ill-behaved Herdman children, who suddenly begin attending Sunday school at their neighborhood church. They take over all the major roles in the Christmas pageant, causing lots of humorous mischief along the way. The unusual pageant is ultimately a great success, with heartfelt performances by the Herdman kids, who bring their holiday ham to the manger as their offering. This truncated version cuts the longer story down to just the basic plot elements, without the hilarious hijinks of the Herdmans and with some loss of the subtle underlying theme conveyed in the full-length novel. However, the story is often performed as a play during the holiday season, and this shorter version will serve well as an introduction to children prior to a performance or as a read-aloud for the family gathered around the Christmas tree. Cornell’s distinctive, loose watercolors add humorous details.
The full-length novel better conveys the complex narrative, but this picture-book version makes the basic story easily accessible to all. Final art not seen. (Picture book. 4-9)