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le 27 août 2011
Meet Holling Hoodhood. He is entering seventh grade. There's nothing too scary about it since he's known most of his classmates forever. There are a few bullies and a few annoying ones, but overall, Holling is looking forward to a new year. Unfortunately, the first Wednesday of the new year reveals a not-so-pleasant surprise.

Every Wednesday afternoon beginning just before 2:00pm everyone leaves his classroom. That is, everyone except Holling and Mrs. Baker. What happens is, the Catholic half of the class is taken by bus to attend Catechism class, and the Jewish half of the class goes to Hebrew School at the temple. Since the Hoodhood family attends the Presbyterian Church, Holling stays put in the classroom.

Needless to say, Holling realizes quite quickly that Mrs. Baker is rather disappointed. If all the students were to leave on Wednesday afternoons, she would have a peaceful chunk of time to catch up on grading papers and making lesson plans. Alas, Mrs. Baker must find ways to occupy Holling instead. There are days when Holling is pretty certain that Mrs. Baker hates him.

Typical Holling-type chores include cleaning the erasers, washing the chalkboard, cleaning the cage of the classroom's pet rats, and doing extra worksheets. One afternoon when Holling was preparing for his usual Wednesday assignment, Mrs. Baker surprised him with a new idea. He was going to begin reading Shakespeare. Soon, Wednesday afternoons become quite interesting.

In addition to the classroom elements of the story, readers get an inside view of life in the Hoodhood home. Holling's father is an ambitious architect, his mother is an obedient housewife, and his sister is a "flower child" out to change the Vietnam-era world.

Gary D. Schmidt presents the world of middle school in THE WEDNESDAY WARS. Every student's nightmare and every teacher's dream - one-on-one instruction. Schmidt fills the pages with sentence diagramming, vicious yellow-toothed rats, luscious cream puffs, chalk dust, yellow tights with feathered bottoms, as well as serious subjects like Shakespeare, architecture, politics, the Vietnam War, and growing up in the 60's.

Readers, young and old alike, are sure to fall in love with Holling's story.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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