A WEEK IN THE WOODS

Andrew Clements, Author . S&S $16.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-689-82596-5

Mark, the 11-year-old at the center of Clements's (Frindle; The Jacket) brooding and uneven novel, initially has no interest in making friends at his new school in Whitson, N.H., where his constantly traveling parents have just renovated and enlarged a 1798 farmhouse. Knowing that he's headed off to a prestigious boarding school next year, the boy has no incentive for pleasing his teachers and spends much of the day gazing out the classroom window. His science teacher, Mr. Maxwell, passes judgment on Mark before the boy finally decides to give the school a chance ("The only kind of people Mr. Maxwell disliked more than slackers were... buy-the-whole-world rich folks"). A showdown between boy and teacher occurs at the start of the annual environmental program organized by Mr. Maxwell for the fifth graders, who spend a week in a wooded state park. The teacher's discovery of Mark with a tool containing a knife (which actually belongs to another boy) climaxes with a pursuit through the woods. Unfortunately, the suspenseful sequence that follows and the engaging denouement account for only a fraction of the novel. Laborious passages about Mark's family's home and barn and the boy's preparations for the school trip, plus perhaps a bit too much description of Mr. Maxwell's background, bog down the story line and may derail readers drawn to the book's enticing title. Ages 9-13. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/12/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 160 pages - 978-0-689-85974-8
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-30068-1
Prebound-Sewn - 208 pages - 978-0-7569-2944-2
Hardcover - 223 pages - 978-0-7862-5016-5
Prebound-Glued - 208 pages - 978-0-613-92512-9
Paperback - 190 pages - 978-0-689-85802-4
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