Monday, October 08, 2007

The Wednesday Wars

Holling Hoodhood lives in a perfect house, with a perfect lawn, smack-dab in the middle of a town that is either Jewish or Catholic. Holling's family is Presbyterian, which has never been a problem until this year. You see, Wednesdays are religious instruction day. This means that the Jewish kids head off to Hebrew School, and the Catholic kids head off to catechism. Holling has nowhere to be except school, and his teacher Mrs. Baker is now teaching a class of one. She is not pleased.

Holling is soon completing tasks like cleaning the chalkboard erasers, and dusting the classroom. And then it gets worse. Mrs. Baker brings in the Shakespeare!

Gary D. Schmidt has written an incredible story that is meaty, articulate, and important. Set in the Vietnam era United States, the Hoodhood family is staring change in the face. The perfect house and the perfect lawn isn't so perfect inside. As Holling tries to manage Wednesdays of 7th grade, his teenage sister Heather is becoming politically minded and estranged from her dad. Holling is seeing blatant racism directed at his Vietnamese classmate as local soldiers lose their lives.

Woven into the story is an innocent humor that brings the reader effortlessly along. From the escapee class pets, to Holling's stage debut, The Wednesday Wars is a pleasure to read. It's a solid dose of good old fashioned storytelling.

Imagine that!

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