Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Best (Worst) Halloween Ever

Robinson, Barbara. The Best (Worst) Halloween Ever
July 27th 2004 by HarperCollins 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this third book in the Herdmans trilogy after The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972) and The Best School Year Ever(1994), we find not only the principal of Woodrow Wilson Elementary but the mayor of the whole town so distraught over the Herdman's antics that Trick or Treating is outlawed. Thisis after the latest incident, where the six Herdman children and two friends get stuck in the revolving door at the bank and have to be extricated by the fire department. One of the friends is the narrator Beth's brother Charlie. The Herdmans have also put guppies on pizza, and since it's known that they routinely shake children down for candy, the school decides to host its own event. The parents plan games, and intend to show up in costumes, and the children aren't all that excited. Alice Wendleken tries to insert herself into the event for her own self promotion. There's some mix up about costumes (Beth wants to go as a mermaid, but her mother doesn't want her showing her midriff; there are a lot of Happy Hobo costumes), and some candy shortages in town. Will the Herdmans manage to derail this event as well?
Strengths: There definitely need to be more middle school books that involve Halloween. Even though parties, costumes, and candy figure largely in elementary students' minds, candy and the freedom to run around the neighborhood with friends is HUGE in the middle school experience. This one is mildly amusing. 
Weaknesses: This one just isn't all the funny. We hear about a few of the Herdman's antics, but don't see any of them, and the one at the dance... meh. I'm also very concerned about the Herdman's, and think that today there would be a lot more sympathy and help extended to them. The mayor gets involved? How small is this town?
What I really think: This will probably be weeded soon. Maybe not just yet, but soon. The copy doesn't smell bad and isn't falling apart, and has circulated fairly recently. I am now somewhat afraid to reread The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which was always one of my favorites. 

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