The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don't get along very well. But the "real" problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That's why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. Read more...
The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don't get along very well. But the "real" problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That's why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. A lot.
Then one day Dave Packer, a certified loudmouth, bumps into an idea -- a big one that makes him try to keep quiet for a whole day. But what does Dave hear during lunch? A "girl, " Lynsey Burgess, jabbering away. So Dave breaks his silence and lobs an insult. And "those" words spark a contest: Which team can say "the fewest words" during two whole days? And it's the boys against the girls.
How do the teachers react to the silence? What happens when the principal feels she's losing control? And will Dave and Lynsey plunge the whole school into chaos?
This funny and surprising book is about language and thought, about words unspoken, words spoken in anger, and especially about the power of words spoken in kindness...with or without a bullhorn. It's Andrew Clements at his best -- thought-provoking, true-to-life, and very entertaining.
- ISBN-13: 9781416909835
- ISBN-10: 1416909834
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
- Publish Date: June 2007
- Page Count: 146
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 60.
- Review Date: 2007-05-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Clements's (Lunch Money) latest thoughtful school tale opens as fifth-grader Dave researches a report on India. He is fascinated to learn that for years Mahatma Gandhi did not speak at all one day each week to “bring order to his mind.” Dave, an inveterate blabber, tries to keep silent for a day at school, a plan that derails when he cannot contain his outrage at his classmate Lynsey's superficial, nonstop monologue at lunch (“She knew I wanted that sweater more than anything, and she bought it anyway. And then? After school on Friday at soccer practice? She smiled at me, like she wanted to be friends or something—as if!”). After she erupts at his complaint, the pair enlists their entire grade in an experiment to determine which gender can utter fewer words during a two-day period. The rules allow students to answer teachers' questions with a three-word-only response, but they are prohibited from speaking after school is dismissed. Enhancing the challenge is the fact that the fifth grade has a reputation for being particularly loquacious, prompting the teachers to dub them “The Unshushables.” The contest plays out at an occasionally plodding pace, as Clements dwells on the teachers' musings about the competition as they find ways for the kids to learn and communicate nonverbally. Despite the rivalry that started the contest, the longstanding animosity between the boys and girls dissipates as the students bond over the experiment. Presuming the novel doesn't generate similar contests in real life, readers may be compelled to use their voices to praise Clement's deft handling of an interesting premise. Ages 8-12. (Jun.)