The Best School Year Ever: Summary & Characters

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  • 0:03 The Herdman Gang
  • 0:33 A Compliment for Imogene
  • 1:10 Banned for Life
  • 1:46 A Softer Side
  • 2:33 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ellen Woods-Vaughter

Ellen has a bachelor's degree in in elementary education and a master's degree in reading education. Ellen has taught kindergarten for the past 6 years.

In this lesson, you 'l meet the six terrible Herdman children. Learn how Beth survives the Herdman family and completes the toughest school assignment ever as she learns to see the best in people - even the Herdman family.

The Herdman Gang

The cast of characters in The Best School Year Ever includes the Herdman children: Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys. The narrator and main character Beth, and her classmates Louella, Alice, Albert, and Boomer, all have the unfortunate bad luck to be in the same grade with Imogene Herdman. Some might call the Herdman family a mob or a gang, because they're just that bad. From the oldest to the youngest, all of the Herdman children are trouble.

A Compliment for Imogene

As if having Imogene as a classmate isn't bad enough, Miss Kemp, Beth's teacher, has given the hardest assignment ever - think of a compliment for one of your classmates. Beth hopes that she will get to compliment a classmate like Alice, Albert, or Boomer, so when she draws Imogene's name, she doesn't know how she will ever think of a compliment for Imogene.

Imogene, and the entire Herdman gang, are known for all of their bad characteristics, not their good ones. From tattooing Louella's baby brother with a marker to giving Lester paper-clip braces, the Herdmans are always causing trouble. But no one knows why the Herdman children are so bad.

Banned for Life

The Herdman children have even been banned from most of the businesses in town. Banned means someone is not allowed to enter a particular place or location. In this case, the Herdmans are not allowed in the town hall, movie theater, or post office because they're always ruining things and causing trouble. And thanks to a particularly ugly ''cat washing'' incident, they've also been banned from the laundromat.

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