Holling Hoodhood can't win. He's the only kid in class who doesn't have to go to either Hebrew school or Catechism thus making him spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker who makes him read Shakespeare. This one fact leads to him performing in a play as a fairy, getting the girl, letting lose the class rats among other things all well learning some valuable lessons and suffering many death threats.
I really enjoyed this book. The reader, Joel Johnstone, did an excellent job bringing Holling to life. I loved how Holling related the events in his life to the Shakespeare plays he was reading. I felt sorry for how certain people in his life treated him (his dad mostly) and how he could never seem to get a break. At first I was sure about Mrs. Baker but she proved to be the most reliable and honest adult in the book. I guess because it was set in 1967 it was a different me then but I was bothered by Holling's father. But Holling is a good kid and he tries very hard.
I also loved Holling's interpretations of Shakespeare's plays and his attitudes about Romeo and Juliet, and Hero and Claudio among others were very funny. This is a nice little introduction to Shakespeare for kids and might get them interested in reading some of the plays plus there is some history on the Vietnam War.
The Wednesday Wars is a 2008 Newbery Honor book. Recommended by Jill at The O.W.L.