I'm rereading Gary Schmidt's Newbery Honor book from 2007 in anticipation of reviewing his brand new, which he's calling a companion to this one. More on that soon.
If you've a middle-grade kid in your life, rush right out and get your hands on this book. I'm laughing a lot. But there's also the writing- oh the writing!
Let's just start with the main character's name: Holling Hoodhood. Now I'm a sucker for names- the wackier the better. (I recently named, unnamed, and renamed a character Sister Cockersole, but that's another long story...) So right off the bat, I'm crazy about Holling. Then he gets stuck with a teacher, all by himself, in her classroom every Wednesday while the rest of his class is carted off to Hebrew School or the local Catholic Wednesday afternoon Catechism classes. Not Holling; he's a Presbyterian. So what does he do? Or rather, what does the teacher decide he's to do? Shakespeare.
Here's his take on that:
(convinced he's missed a sporting event he really had his heart set on because he's bargained to play a role with the local theater company)
I almost cried. Almost. But I didn't, because if you're in seventh grade and you cry while wearing a blue floral cape and yellow tights with white feathers on the butt, you just have to curl up and die somewhere in a dark alley.
And what he has to say about Much Ado About Nothing? Hilarious!
This is not one of those reviews that gives the story away. Oh, no. The story's much too good for that. Let me just add that it's hard for me not to like a book about Diagramming Sentences. Or a kid whose take on diagramming sentences includes the phrase "No native speaker of the English language could diagram this sentence." Yes. Mrs. Baker is a teacher with complex participle phrases on her mind. For that alone I'd love her.
Great book. Read or reread it. For those of us participating in the Historical Fiction challenge? The Wednesday Wars is set during the Vietnam War era, significantly so. I think surely it qualifies.