The Wednesday Wars on a Middle Grade Monday

The_wednesday_warsHolling Hoodhood is one of the most likeable male protagonists in the past 10 years. Gary D. Schmidt  brought to life this 7th grade boy from 1967 who learns much about life and family.

Date of Publication: 2007

Word count: 73,675

Level: 5.9

Plot: Holling Hoodhood is really in for it.
He’s just started seventh grade with Mrs. Baker, a teacher he knows is out to get him. Why else would she make him read Shakespeare…outside of class?
The year is 1967, and everyone has bigger things than homework to worry about. There’s Vietnam for one thing, and then there’s the family business. As far as Holling’s father is concerned, nothing is more important than the family business. In fact, all of the Hoodhoods must be on their best behavior at all times. The success of Hoodhood and Associates depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has Mrs. Baker to contend with? 

Five things I liked:

  1. The historical backdrop that includes Yankee Stadium, Vietnam, Political assassinations, and even Woolworth’s.  What an enjoyable way to learn about these places and events through the eyes of our young protagonist.
  2. It’s laugh out loud hilarious with runaway rats, cream puffs, and an embarrassing pair of tights. Just when you’re drawn into the seriousness of a moment, you get whacked over the head with humor
  3. The use of Shakespeare’s works as they are woven into Holling’s year that brings much debate but also understanding to what he observes.
  4. The emotional honesty that the author brings forth. It left me satisfied as each plot point came to a satisfying conclusion.
  5. Though the time period is 46 years in the past, events of today could easily be substituted. It would make a fantastic read-aloud in the classroom or home.

Favorite Line: To ask your big sister to be your ally is like asking Nova Scotia to go into battle with you.

Who will love this book: Anyone who is 12 or wants to go inside the head of a 12 year old would enjoy THE WEDNESDAY WARS. It’s not a short read and borders closer to upper middle grade. The chapters are lengthy but contain perfect stopping points within. I couldn’t wait to get back to the story each day.

After visiting here be sure to check the links to other selections over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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3 Responses to The Wednesday Wars on a Middle Grade Monday

  1. Joanne Fritz says:

    I loved this book, not just because I was approximately the same age as Holling in 1967! (Yes, I remember the 60s…) The voice is spot on and the writing is fantastic. In fact, one of the SCBWI workshops I attended this summer used examples from this book for how to show tension in a scene.

  2. Pingback: Happy 10th post for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday | Always in the Middle

  3. Pingback: A Year of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Are You Kidding? | Always in the Middle

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