This is my top pick for Newbery 2008. The language is beautiful, the characters real, the plot just enough to be real, and best, a beautiful portrait of 1967-68.

Mrs. Baker, wife of Lieutenant Baker in Vietnam, hates Holling Hoodhood. Holling thinks this at least, after the first Wednesday. The Hoodhoods aren’t Jewish or Catholic, they’re *gasp* Presbyterian! Well, that’s how most people react. And most includes Mrs. Baker, or so Holling believes.

Worst of all, Holling must spend every Wednesday with Mrs. Baker reading Shakespeare. Every does not mean sometimes. Every means always. He ruins her cream puffs, lets out her rats. He understands Shakespeare- most of the time.

I love that Holling never realizes how gifted he is during the book. I mean, a seventh grader reading Shakespeare and thoroughly enjoying it and understanding it? My classmates didn’t understand Macbeth in 8th grade. I doubt they would now.

I really, really want The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt to win the medal. (Yes, I know Shan-fans will kill me when they read this) Schmidt deserves the medal. I’ve heard people say that Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy should have won the medal instead of the honor, and maybe he will get the medal this time.

I’ve been thinking- If Shannon wins the Newbery, which I believe is announced in mid-January, do you think she’ll still go on tour with Libba Bray? I do hope so. This might be my only chance to meet her.

I’ve gotten a bunch of books for my birthday, so I’ll have a full load of reviews on Thanksgiving break. Look foward to… Al Capone Does My Shirts, Kira-Kira, The Tail of Emily Windsnap, I am the Messenger, and many more!