Newbery Award winner Louis Sachar is the author of Dogs Don't
Tell Jokes, the Marvin Redpost books, and the much-loved
There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, winner of 19
child-voted state awards.
Louis Sachar's book Holes, winner of the 1999 Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, is also an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick, and an ALA Notable Book, and was made into a major motion picture.
Could David's efforts to court popularity be doomed by the curse of an elderly neighbor? ``Readers will empathize'' said PW , with the hero of ``this delightful, funny book.'' Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
Gr 5-7-- The jacket art of a young man's horrified surprise as his pants fall down while he's talking to a girl in the school corridor captures much about the book, particularly its wit and humor (he's lost his pants, not his face) and its exploration of exaggerated situations that reveal the very real and excruciating angst of middle schoolers. David Ballinger fears being uncool, not fitting in, and wants so much to be popular that he helps some classmates attack an elderly woman and steal her cane. When odd things begin to happen to him, he believes the woman to be a witch who has cursed him, and his genuine remorse causes him to punish himself. By not being assertive, by not standing up for what he believes, he loses face. He grows in the course of the novel, and is able to get his ``face'' back, albeit somewhat bruised. Ample dialogue (including name calling, street language, and obscenities) and brief chapters will make this a book for which young patrons will reach. Unfortunately, the story is weakened by the tagged-on final chapter, set 150 years in the future, in which David Ballinger is revered, and his birthday has been made a school holiday. --Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME