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The Best Halloween Ever


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About the Author

Barbara Robinson has written several popular books for children, including My Brother Louis Measures Worms, The Best School Year Ever, The Best Halloween Ever, and the enormously popular bestselling novel The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, first published in 1972, which was made into a classic TV movie and on which this book was based. The play The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is produced annually in theaters, schools, and churches all over the world. Ms. Robinson has two daughters and three grandchildren.


Gr 3-5-The Herdmans are back and still causing havoc. This large family of ruffians has terrorized the community in the past by turning on the sprinklers and nearly drowning all the turkeys, spray painting kids, stealing cakes, and making kids buy back their own candy. This time, in an effort to avoid the inevitable Herdman-induced chaos of the Halloween activities, Principal Crabtree proposes that the celebration be held at the school, under the watchful eyes of parents and teachers. The kids are bummed because it will be a trick-or-treatless night, and they would rather face the Herdmans on the street than miss the candy. However, the Herdmans manage to turn the event into a disaster for the adults, and the best Halloween ever for the children. The writing is fast paced and funny, and the plot takes some unexpected if not entirely believable twists; for example, a trap door in the teachers' lounge leads to a boiler room filled with holiday candy stolen and stashed by the Herdmans over the years. This book will have a wide readership, particularly with fans of Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972) and The Best School Year Ever (1994, both HarperCollins).-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Fans of Robinson's previous tales about the Herdman family (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; The Best School Year Ever) may be disappointed in this latest installment mostly because the six hellions are absent for the majority of the novel. Of course, this is the point: the mayor, the principal and the parents of the students at Woodrow Wilson School unite in a citywide effort for a "Herdman-free Halloween." The mayor banishes candy from the stores and trick-or-treating on the streets, in favor of a school bash on October 31 that, in narrator Beth Bradley's words, more resembles "Back-to-School Night." The six siblings that wreaked havoc on the town and its citizens in books past also supplied the narratives' main source of energy and humor, and without them, Beth, her brother, Charlie, and their classmates seem to be simply waiting for the other shoe to drop. As they (and readers) anticipate the events of the final chapters to see what the Herdmans have in store, the book reads like one big build-up, and the holiday itself is, unfortunately, an anticlimax. Ages 8-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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