It all started because Holling Hoodhood was a Presbyterian. On Wednesdays, a bus came from the Temple Beth El to take a load to Hebrew School and an hour later the bus from St. Alberts to take the rest of the class to Catechism and Holling was left alone with Mrs. Baker all day long. At first it was a struggle, having to clean the chalkboards and take out the trash but then Mrs. Baker decided that it was about time that Holling picked up Shakespeare. Through the book Holling Hoodhood must struggle with track, bullies, an annoying sister, unrealistic expectations from his family and of course Wednesdays with Mrs. Baker. Hilarious to the breaking point yet touching and heartfelt this book is a wonderful blend of humor and heartbreak, showing what it was like growing up in one of the most infamous decades of American History.
There are very few books that can be both flamboyantly hilarious, and deeply touching at the same time and this book is definitely one of them. When I read this book I can’t count the amount of times I laughed out loud, while other parts of the book brought me close to tears. The characters are exceptionally well developed, the voice of the protagonist, Holling, in particular is very defined (I swear I could pick Holling out in any book I read, even years later) and the themes are powerful and deep. The book is not very plot driven so don’t expect any shocking revelations or high speed car chases, but what the book does offer is a peek into the life of a boy living in the 1960’s, a school story, yet in some ways, much more. In that aspect it does not disappoint, the book feels genuine, as if the author spent hours carefully crafting every page and the humor is killer. I would recommend this books for all ages. It is a timeless piece that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.
- Age: 7-99
- Awards: Newbery Honor
- Stars: Five out of Five
Written by Malachi Myers