April 3, 2012

The Wednesday Wars - by Gary D. Schmidt

This book was so much more enjoyable than I expected!  I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, given how much I liked this author's writing in Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.  It's a tale of the 1960's, focusing on the life of one unlucky boy, Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High.  At first we think the story is about his nasty teacher, Mrs. Baker, who tortures him each Wednesday while all the other students in his class go elsewhere for religion class.  She makes him read Shakespeare, for goodness sake!  Soon we dig deeper, the story expands, and it's a fabulous ride.

Dust-covered cream puffs, yellow leotards with feathers on the butt, escaped rats, a cranky and demanding father, and so many more mini-stories fill this book that it's almost hard to keep track.  By the end, the author has woven them all together into a coming-of-age story that speaks to that time in American history, but also to anybody who has been a teenager and lived to tell about it.

Some of the writing is at a high level:Quoting Shakespeare to make inside jokes, digging into the topic of the Vietnam War, but the author pulls it off well, and a discerning reader will have no trouble.  I'd recommend this book to 10-up, to fans of the 60's, people who like to run, and anyone who wants a surprisingly great story to enjoy.


Momo said...

Hi Mr K The cover of thisbook looks inviting. I wonder would Australian children who did not grow up in the 1960 and did not grow up in US enjoy this book? I will be in NY in July - where are the best Children's Literature places to go?

Ms. Yingling said...

Cannot get any of my students to read this one. They do love Boom! and Belly Up, though. Stuart Gibbs has a new one, Spy School, that I think will be popular.

Sabrina said...

The Wednesday Wars is a very exciting novel.