It is 1967 and life for Holling Hoodhood is hard. As if Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement aren't enough to worry about, Holling's seventh grade teacher hates him. Every Wednesday, Mrs. Baker makes Holling's life miserable. If it isn't pounding erasers or cleaning out the rats' cage, it is reading Shakespeare. To make matters worse, Holling must be on his best behavior or he might damage the reputation of Hoodhood and Associates, his father's architectural firm.
Holling Hoodhood is a wonderful character and his story is both hysterical and touching. Holling's experiences parallel his Shakespeare reading and both teach "the power of goodness and honesty and faithfulness." Mrs. Baker is the teacher all middle schoolers need with her tough love and strict grammar instruction. The humor in this book will capture young readers, but the beauty of the writing and the profound life lessons reach an older audience as well. The Wednesday Wars is one of my new favorites. It will delight seasoned Shakespeare lovers, motivate young readers to try Shakespeare, and teach the world about "the endurance of love." All middle elementary, tween readers, and their families should read this wonderful historical novel.