Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt



This is another one I read for the A to Z Challenge. I read about it in a number of blogs and it has been on my TBR pile for awhile. It doesn't qualify for the In The Pub challenge because, even though it is a recently published book, it is classified as a young adult novel.

The books follows Holling Hoodhood through his seventh grade school year in 1967. Holling lives in a small town where everyone is either Catholic or Jewish. Being a Presbyterian, Holling is not dismissed from school early each Wednesday, much to the dismay of his teacher, Mrs. Baker. Through the Wednesday afternoons of the school year, Holling learns to read Shakespeare, wrangles missing rats, and learns to run for the school's track team. He also learns about himself, his family, and his own humanity in the process.

STRENGTHS OF THE WEDNESDAY WARS: Schmidt created a school, and set of characters, that beg for teachers to read them to their upper elementary school classes. There are parts of the story that are laugh out loud funny, like when the class rats escape and how they are finally found. Schmidt also does a good job of capturing the era with the conflict between Holling's father and sister as well as the military deployment of Mrs. Baker's husband. By making the main character a boy, this is a book that both boys and girls can relate to. I also liked the ending of the book where Holling was, finally, able to stand up for himself and what he wanted. I think that's a great lesson for young people. The last page of the story really highlights Holling's growth and his humanity without being too sentimental. Schmidt did an excellent job of creating a character that young people will enjoy.

WEAKNESSES OF THE WEDNESDAY WARS: I really enjoyed this one so it's hard for me to find any problems with it. The only thing I can say is that it assumes some knowledge of the political events of the era which, unfortunately, may be lacking in the book's target audience. As adults, we assume they know about Vietnam, but they may have never gotten that far in their history classes.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this one. In fact, I'm giving it 5 stars (only the third book I've given all five stars to this year!) It is a funny yet poignant look at the problems of growing up. This would be a great gift to the young person in your life. I would use it to open up a discussion of following your own path and what that really means. If you've read it, I'd love to know what you thought.

3 comments:

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I just finished reading this book as well. I really enjoyed it, more so than I thought I would. It was laugh out loud funny but yet very touching as well.

Framed said...

Having read both Natasha's and your reviews, I am definitely adding this book to my list.

sealy air bed said...

black mold exposureblack mold symptoms of exposurewrought iron garden gatesiron garden gates find them herefine thin hair hairstylessearch hair styles for fine thin hairnight vision binocularsbuy night vision binocularslipitor reactionslipitor allergic reactionsluxury beach resort in the philippinesafordable beach resorts in the philippineshomeopathy for eczema.baby eczema.save big with great mineral makeup bargainsmineral makeup wholesalersprodam iphone Apple prodam iphone prahacect iphone manualmanual for P 168 iphonefero 52 binocularsnight vision Fero 52 binocularsThe best night vision binoculars herenight vision binoculars bargainsfree photo albums computer programsfree software to make photo albumsfree tax formsprintable tax forms for free craftmatic air bedcraftmatic air bed adjustable info hereboyd air bedboyd night air bed lowest pricefind air beds in wisconsinbest air beds in wisconsincloud air bedsbest cloud inflatable air bedssealy air beds portableportables air bedsrv luggage racksaluminum made rv luggage racksair bed raisedbest form raised air bedsbed air informercialsbest informercials bed airmattress sized air bedsbestair bed mattress antique doorknobsantique doorknob identification tipsdvd player troubleshootingtroubleshooting with the dvd playerflat panel television lcd vs plasmaflat panel lcd television versus plasma pic the bestadjustable bed air foam The best bed air foam hoof prints antique equestrian printsantique hoof prints equestrian printsBuy air bedadjustablebuy the best adjustable air bedsair beds canadian storesCanadian stores for air bedsmigraine causemigraine treatments floridaflorida headache clinicdrying dessicantair drying dessicantdessicant air dryerpediatric asthmaasthma specialistasthma children specialistcarpet cleaning dallas txcarpet cleaners dallascarpet cleaning dallasvero beach vacationvero beach vacationsbeach vacation homes veroms beach vacationsms beach vacationms beach condosmaui beach vacationmaui beach vacationsmaui beach clubbeach vacationsyour beach vacationscheap beach vacationsbob hairstylebob haircutsbob layeredpob hairstylebobbedclassic bobCare for Curly HairTips for Curly Haircurly hair12r 22.5 best pricetires truck bustires 12r 22.5washington new housenew house houstonnew house san antonionew house venturanew houston house houston house txstains removal dyestains removal clothesstains removalteeth whiteningteeth whiteningbright teethjennifer grey nosejennifer nose jobscalebrities nose jobsWomen with Big NosesWomen hairstylesBig Nose Women, hairstyles