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The Best School Year Ever

by Barbara Robinson

Book list Gr. 3-5. Although neither quite as hilarious nor as unexpectedly moving as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972), this sequel will still have children laughing out loud at the Herdmans' antics and believing that even such remarkably bad kids have some good qualities. The school year provides the framework for the story, narrated by Beth, who has Imogene Herdman in her class. As soon as the teacher announces that the yearlong class project will be "Compliments for Classmates," which involves writing down the other children's good qualities, it's inevitable that Beth will draw Imogene's name. And what do you say about a girl who swipes a classmate's baby brother, draws pictures on his head with markers, and charges folks a quarter for a look at the Amazing Tattooed Baby? Yet Robinson doesn't just play the Herdmans for laughs. Beth's identification of Imogene's strengths gives the book a level of humanity that makes the novel more than a series of humorous anecdotes. Readers can only hope that the Herdmans will not reform--at least not until after a few more sequels. Few characters in children's fiction are so unredeemed, so uncivilized, and so out-and-out funny. ~--Carolyn Phelan

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book Fiction: and intimidation aren't exactly the sort of compliments the teacher has in mind. The understated reporting of Herdman exploits is sure to please."" Age: esw More laugh-out-loud adventures of Beth, Charlie, and the dreaded Herdmans from [cf2]The Best Christmas Pageant Ever[cf1] (Harper). Beth worries over a school assignment -- Horn Rating: Superior, well above average. Reviewed by: Compliments for Classmates"""" -- that links her with Imogene Herdman; stealing (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Gr. 3-5. Although neither quite as hilarious nor as unexpectedly moving as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972), this sequel will still have children laughing out loud at the Herdmans' antics and believing that even such remarkably bad kids have some good qualities. The school year provides the framework for the story, narrated by Beth, who has Imogene Herdman in her class. As soon as the teacher announces that the yearlong class project will be "Compliments for Classmates," which involves writing down the other children's good qualities, it's inevitable that Beth will draw Imogene's name. And what do you say about a girl who swipes a classmate's baby brother, draws pictures on his head with markers, and charges folks a quarter for a look at the Amazing Tattooed Baby? Yet Robinson doesn't just play the Herdmans for laughs. Beth's identification of Imogene's strengths gives the book a level of humanity that makes the novel more than a series of humorous anecdotes. Readers can only hope that the Herdmans will not reform--at least not until after a few more sequels. Few characters in children's fiction are so unredeemed, so uncivilized, and so out-and-out funny. (Reviewed October 15, 1994)0060230398Carolyn Phelan

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-The Herdmans are back in this audio version of Barbara Robinson's riotous sequel (HarperCollins, 1994) to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (HarperCollins, 1972, pap. 1988). While The Best School Year Ever lacks the emotional climax of its predecessor, the vignettes are hilarious. The story follows the misadventures of the Herdmans (there's one in every elementary school grade) during Beth Bradley's year in the sixth grade. Beth's class must come up with "Compliments for Classmates," and when Beth is stuck with Imogene Herdman's name she hardly knows what to do. There are many adjectives one can use to describe Imogene, none of which are complimentary. During the school year, however, Beth begins to see Imogene in a new light - a somewhat odd light, but a new one nonetheless. Imogene is so many things that people never bothered to see, and she is so many things that she never knew. Wise beyond her years, Beth sees her town and its occupants as no one else can. Actress Elaine Stritch's earthy, worldly, almost boozy voice is perfect for Beth, the narrator. This audiobook is a must-have for school and public library collections. Listeners can only hope that it won't take another 20 years for the Herdmans to return.-Holly May Pickel, Bluffton Branch Library, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Not just your average naughty children, the Herdmans occasionally step over the line into juvenile delinquency- -but they do it with such panache that the reader cannot help but be impressed. Even Beth Bradley, narrator and sixth-grade classmate of Imogene Herdman, is eventually won over. Beth tells the story of a year in the life of the Herdman clan and describes her own school assignment: to think of compliments for everyone in her class--including Imogene. Beth can think of a lot of names to call Imogene, none of them complimentary. She explains in hilarious detail how the Herdmans are behind every minor catastrophe that occurs in town, from the frogs in the Town Hall watercooler to the ``Amazing Tatooed Baby'' scandal. How can Beth say anything nice about that? Eventually Beth's father comes to the rescue: He calls Imogene ``resourceful'' after she butters a boy's head to unstick it from a bike rack. Beth looks up ``resourceful'' and decides it will do. She also adds ``cunning,'' ``shrewd,'' ``creative,'' and others, realizing that Imogene really is all of these. Beth concludes that if Imogene doesn't go to jail, she could become president. Robinson's readers will look forward to finding out which it will be. The Herdmans will delight readers of this spirited sequel to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972). (Fiction. 8+)

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly The many readers who have laughed out loud at Robinson's uproarious 1972 novel, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever , will enthusiastically welcome the return of the six cigar-smoking Herdman kids. These six waste no time bending rules: they break them outright. While the original story centered on the church Christmas pageant, the sequel has a broader focus, paving the way for more varied misadventures, virtually all of which the Herdmans craftily orchestrate. Among the dastardly deeds are the siblings' kidnapping of a bald baby, whose head they ``tattoo'' and show to other kids for a fee; their attempt to wash their cat (which is ``missing one eye and part of an ear and most of its tail and all of whatever good nature it ever had'') in a laundromat machine; and their ingenious sabotage of the school's Fire Safety Day observance. In one of the funniest scenes, cunning Imogene Herdman comes to the rescue of a boy whose head (thanks to Imogene's brother) is stuck in a bike rack: she flattens his prominent ears with Scotch tape and slathers his head with margarine so it slides through the bars. If this novel doesn't have quite the consistently razor-sharp repartee of its predecessor, it comes very, very close. Ages 8-up. 50,000 first printing. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-The long-awaited sequel to the popular The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (HarperCollins, 1972). A dangerous, shifty, fearless, cigar-smoking family of thieves and fight-instigators, the horrible Herdmans are distributed one per grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, and it is unclear whether junior high or jail will be their next step. Sixth-grader Beth Bradley, the narrator, has the misfortune of drawing Imogene Herdman's name for a class project in which students must think of ``Compliments for Classmates'' at the end of the year. How will she find something good to say about Imogene? Just as the Herdmans discover something about the meaning of Christmas in the first book, Beth and her classmates realize that there is good in everyone-even in Imogene Herdman. While Beth's vignettes of the school year are hilarious, this story lacks the tension of the earlier novel, created by the build-up to the climactic event of the pageant. Nevertheless, this book is certain to be a hit with fans old and new.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 3-6-The Herdman's are back in this audio verson of Barbara Robinson's riotous sequel (HarperCollins, 1994) to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (HarperCollins, 1972). The hilarious vignettes follow the misadventures of the Herdmans during Beth Bradley's year in the sixth grade. Actress Elaine Stritch's earthy voice is perfect for Beth, the narrator. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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