Holling Hoodhood, rather an unfortunate name, eh? On the first day of 7th grade, Holling is already convinced that his teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates him. However, over the course of one pivotal year, Holling will learn just how much a teacher can bring into his life.
Hapless is the word that comes to mind when I think of Holling and all the things that happen to him in 1967. Cream puffs, escaped mice, Shakespeare in tights with feathers, Yankee Stadium. What could possibly go wrong with all these things? As far as Holling is concerned, lots can and will go wrong. However much events conspire, there is more to celebrate in Holling's life.
Mrs. Baker is a charming character, a teacher with qualities we would all love to have as well as a spunky spirit that will not be deterred from her goals. Schmidt weaves history effortlessly into this story bringing attention to the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, and much more. The events do not feel at all intrusive. It is not there to make a point (though points are scored). Holling and Mrs. Baker and all the others who populate this tale are memorable folks whose lives are given one brief moment to shine in Schmidt's novel.