Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Wednesday Wars

Spring is the season of Shakespeare. I think most of us can remember fighting through 16th century language when the days were getting brighter and longer--don't you remember looking up from Mercutio's speech "Ah, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you" to look out the window at the yellow daffodils planted outside the high school? Right now the local tenth graders are finishing up their research projects on Julius Caesar and another batch of high schoolers are starting on Hamlet.
This novel isn't about a high schooler, though.

Holling Hoodhood is a seventh grader.

And he thinks his teacher hates him because he's the only one in the class who doesn't leave early every Wednesday afternoon for Hebrew school or for Catholic school. And because every week his teacher puts him to work doing classroom chores or reading interminably long plays by Shakespeare.

This was fun to read--there is a really good rhythym to the writing. Like the Robert Newton Peck books about the boy named Soup, the plot seems to jump from escapade to escapade, but the author is able to tie everything together deftly. While the events are not all entirely believable, they aren't so far-fetched as to arouse too much suspicion among younger readers. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud parts, especially for those who have read Shakespeare before and can recognize characters and plotlines and curses mentioned throughout the book. Enjoy!

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