THE WEDNESDAY WARS: Gary D. Schmidt: Clarion Books: Young Adult: 264 pages
Holling Hoodhood lives in the Perfect House with his ambitious father, his hippie (or at least she’d like to be) sister, and his ineffective mother. Because Holling does not attend Catechism or Hebrew School, he spends his Wednesday afternoons reading Shakespeare with his 7th grade teacher, Mrs. Baker, finding parallels between his own life in 1967 and Shakespeare’s universal themes.
This delightful novel has a very similar feel to the classic Peter Billingsley film, A Christmas Story. Holling’s struggles with classmates who threaten to pound him if he doesn’t produce cream puffs for the entire class, his humiliation at wearing bright yellow, feathered tights to play Ariel in a local Shakespeare production, and the overall tone and voice of the work are reminiscent of the movie, but Schmidt (who won Printz and Newbery honors for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy) also addresses social, political, and family issues that give The Wednesday Wars a great deal of depth and meaning.MBC