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Author: Gary D Schmidt

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Publisher: Clarion Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Holling Hoodhood-right away you know there’s going to be something good about a character with that name. You keep waiting to see if he’s going to go by that name or some weird nickname. No, Holling it is and you grow to see that Hoodhood is a proud name to have. In Holling’s world (1967), you’re either attending Jewish classes or Catholic classes on Wednesday afternoons—unless you’re Presbyterian like Hollings—in which case, you spend your Wednesdays with Mrs. Baker. The afternoons start off typically with geography and math, cleaning erasers, carrying cream puffs, then Shakespeare. Shakespeare gets Holling: the girl, sports stardom, teacher admiration, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Teachers, students, parents, sisters, boy and girls—everyone grows up and closer together for a happy ending. This is a middle grade novel with coming-of-age themes for junior high students.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 11 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 5.9

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: I like how Holling is realistic about himself: he laughs at himself and he knows that sometimes he does stupid things. I liked the way Holling talked to the reader like “I know this is going to go bad; don’t you think this is going to go bad?” His character is so real. It’s like you’re standing right there beside him. He’s just a really great guy. Good things come his way a lot. Quoting Shakespeare was a little freaky, but I guess it helped make his character. The romance between Holling and Meryl is just enough not to be mushy. There’s a war (Vietnam) going on, but the one closes to hom is in Holling’s relationships with his family, teachers, and friends. That’s actually a good way to help kids who weren’t born at that time to feel some of the feelings people were experiencing.
This is a good read for elementary and middle school students. I bought the hardcover book from a book store simply because I knew Gary Schmidt was a great writer. I had read other books by the author from my school library. I would give this book as a gift because the characters and the storyline stay fresh every time. This was a fun read.

Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Pros: Kids will instantly connect with Holling as he shares his life story as a teen in 1967.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Gary Schmidt is an excellent writer.

If You Liked This Book, Try: Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine; Adam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip; Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass AFTER THE TRAIN   A THIEF IN THE THEATER: A KIT MYSTERY (American Girl Mysteries)   BAMBOO PEOPLE

Educational Themes: Kids who are living wars in Afghanistan may see some parallels with Holling's 1960s life. This is an excellent choice for a book club because of the opportunities to discuss universal topics relevant to teens.

Notes: A reviewer submitted this. The book is part of their personal library. The Wednesday Wars is a Newbery Honor title.

Literary Categories: Fiction - coming of age, 1960s, family, middle grade, classic literature, school, Judaism

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2012

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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