Author Andrew Clements writes a lot of books that center on student-teacher relationships. This is again exemplified in the popular 2002 children’s novel A Week in the Woods; which I consider a note-worthy addition to his school series.
On a cold day in January, rich kid Mark Chemsley IV moves to yet another mansion, meaning that he must temporarily go to Hardy Elementary, a public school, just for the rest of the year. Having a chauffeur hold your door for you to a Rolls Royce and running around wearing custom-made clothes from expensive materials is bound to attract some attention. The impression Mark makes on his teachers is not exactly favorable either, especially the one he makes on his eccentric science teacher, Mr. Maxwell. He takes the boy to be nothing but the usual rich kid slacker that teachers cannot stand. When Mark hears of the “Week in the Woods” nature program that Mr. Maxwell himself has started years ago and that has been a school tradition ever since, Mark soon decides that it is time for a change in appearance! Mark thus goes to Walmart to buy himself some regular clothes and sets out to be rid of his old “rich boy” habits, including being alone and conquering his fear of the dark. By talking right and dressing normally, he is able to be respected by everyone in the school; everyone but Mr. Maxwell. The reason for that becomes apparent: Mark bought the most expensive and most flashy backpack in the school. Disappointed but not willing to give up earning Mr. Maxwell’s trust, Mark Robert Chemsley IV is about to embark on one of the biggest adventures in his life!
The book is split up into two parts: the first part is fast-paced and humorous whereas the second part is both a thrilling adventure story and a coming-of-age drama. Andrew Clement describes every little detail perfectly in this electrifying rags-versus-riches story that will turn pages faster than a speeding bullet!
A final word after reading Lunch Money and A Week in the Woods; Andrew Clements has done it to me again!
books rating on scale from 1-100: Robert Steven Mack 100(+1)/100
Copyright 2010 by Robert Steven Mack (all rights reserved)