The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson

Me: Oh look, a cute kiddy Christmas book! The kid on the cover is so adorable! I bet I won’t even have a Caution’s Sheet for this one!
Me: *opens book*
The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s old broken-down toolhouse.” (page 1)
Me: *clicks pen*

Title: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Written by: Barbara Robinson
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Publisher: Harper and Row
Publication Date: 1971
Paperback: 150 pages

To be honest, I’m not sure you can ever have a church Christmas pageant that went – as grownups like to say – “according to plan”.

Trust me – I’ve been in enough to know.

There’s always the talented girl cast as The Angel who gets her own (soprano) solo.

There’s always the group of undisciplined shepherd boys who inevitably break their staffs before rehearsal starts.

There’s always the bored Mary (trying not to look bored because she wanted the role more than anything).

There’s always the equally bored Joseph (who doesn’t try to conceal his boredom because he didn’t want the role).

There’s always the Wisemen (who are almost always Wisewomen) in too-big robes carrying gold wrapping paper colored boxes.

There’s always the unfortunate children cast as sheep forced to wear far far too many white, fluffy pom-poms.

There’s always the choir of angels who are grateful not to have been cast as sheep.

There’s always angel feathers and glitter floating around like someone took all their anger out on glittery, down pillows.

There’s always the angel who JUST CAN’T FIND HER HALO!!!


There’s always baby Jesus, who may or may not be real – depending on whether or not any mother trusts This Year’s Mary enough to hold her baby.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever brought back all these happy, goofy, and often cringe-worthy memories of Christmas Pageants past.

The book is cute and funny and something all ages can enjoy.

However, there are a few caution-able things to mention.

For example: the Herdmans (who’s ages range from five to ten years old) smoke.

Seriously, they all smoke.

They also swear (in Church no less!) and are prone to violence.

But all in all, this is a very clean, kid-friendly book which I’d have no problem reading to children in my church.

(I’d probably censor out the swearing though)

I recommend The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for anyone looking for a kid-friendly Christmas story.

For More Information about the Book and Author Click: HERE

Age Range: all ages


Violence: A woman brakes her leg. The Herdmans hit people. The Herdmans have a cat that attacts anyone and anything. The Herdmans want to kill Herod.(which – to be fair – is a justifiable act)

Sensuality: a mention of “sex”.

Profanity: Hell, dumb-bell, and God’s name taken in vain.

Other: The Herdmans lie, steal, smoke cigars, and set fire to various things. Imogene blackmails/fat shames others. One Herdman defaces a Bible. One Herdman shoved a pussy-willow brush into his ear(I don’t get it either). Being sick is mentioned.

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Cleanness Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

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