The Gumma Wars

David Haynes, Author, David Zinn, Illustrator Milkweed Editions $6.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-57131-610-3
Haynes (Right by My Side; Live at Five) shows his expertise in middle-school attitudes, lingo and day-to-day issues in the first two installments of this new series featuring the West 7th Wildcats, an ethnically diverse group (""not a gang"") of six feisty sixth-grade boys. In the opener, Business as Usual, most of the action takes place in the classroom where, under the direction of their ever-patient teacher, the boys produce their own special brand of Wildcat cookies for Marketplace Day and learn the nuts and bolts of free enterprise. The Gumma Wars focuses on the home life of Wildcat Lawrence Underwood (Lu), who is caught between two feuding grandmothers after his parents slip off for the weekend. Despite their differing backgrounds, the members of the Wildcats sometimes appear to be multi-ethnic clones of the same all-American boy. The one exception is Kevin, who is always getting in trouble (""In a room full of thirty normal twelve-year-old boys and girls, Kevin is the one who stands out. Who stands out in the hall that is""). While some readers will be content to follow the relatively tame adventures of the companionable Wildcats, others will never lose sight of the author's reins as he keeps deviant behavior and general unpleasantness at bay. Ages 8-14. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2000
Release date: 07/01/2000
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 110 pages - 978-1-57131-611-0
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