Barbara Robinson, Author . HarperCollins/Cotler $14.99 (117p) ISBN 978-0-06-027862-5

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.)

Reviewed on: 08/09/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60252-743-0
Prebound-Sewn - 117 pages - 978-0-7569-6985-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-087356-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-087355-4
Prebound-Glued - 117 pages - 978-1-4177-3346-0
Compact Disc - 2 pages - 978-0-06-073584-5
Library Binding - 128 pages - 978-0-06-027863-2
Paperback - 117 pages - 978-0-06-076601-6
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