Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No Talking

Andrew Clements has impressed me once again! He introduces us to fifth-grader, David Packer, a member of the teacher-dubbed "Unshushables." David and his classmates just can't seem to keep their mouths closed and free of words. Not during class, not during hall time, and definitely not during lunch. The fifth-graders drive their teachers crazy and leave them begging for quiet after the day is over. After David reads something about Mahatma Gandhi and his using silence to fight for peace, he decides to try an experiment, enlisting the biggest chatterbox in the entire class, Lynsey, to help him.

David and Lynsey form teams (boys against girls of course!), vowing that no one will talk for an entire 48 hours, with the exception of answering teacher's questions, as to not get into trouble at school. After only a few hours of rather difficult silence, the teachers are completely confused and almost to the point of demanding the quiet students return to their chatty behavior.

At the end of the 48 hours, not only do the students feel good about themselves, an invisible peace line has been drawn between the girls and the boys. They still may not like each other very much, as most fifth-graders do not, but at least, after working together so well, they can now tolerate each other.

Andrew Clements is a master at creating stories that suck the reader in and leave them laughing the whole way through. Lessons are learned, but fun is had at the same time, which is the perfect mix for a great children's book.

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