Monday, November 14, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Wednesday Wars

I've had The Wednesday Wars on my mind for awhile, and even though Jennifer Rumberger highlighted this book a few weeks ago, I am compelled to share about it too. Because when a book causes my son to ask, "Mom, where's your book of all Shakespeare's plays?" followed by "I want to read some of them," (and when I find it, he reads some of them), I know I need to read that book too. And that book is, of course, Gary D. Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars.

The premise: In the fall of 1967, Holling Hoodhood (what an awesome name for a character, right?) starts 7th grade, and things are a bit rocky. Holling's teacher has it in for him (she makes him--and only him--read Shakespeare), and his dad says the future of Hoodhood and Associates depends on Holling's good behavior (and it's hard to be good with rats, cream puffs, and a sister around). Not to mention the Vietnam War is infiltrating even Holling's life.

What keeps readers reading: The humor mixed with the super-serious. Gary D. Schmidt leads readers through Holling Hoodhood's school year. Each chapter in The Wednesday Wars represents a month of his 7th grade year. And during that school year, Holling learns more than he ever thought he could learn and becomes more than he ever thought he could be. Readers are challenged to do the same--all while being challenged to brush up on their Shakespeare.

One part humor and one part history, The Wednesday Wars is one whole awesome.

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Happy middle grade reading!