by Gordon Korman
Hyperion Books for Children, 2007
As previously promised here is my review of Korman’s book about a commune-raised hippie kid, Capricorn Anderson, who finds himself suddenly attending Claverage Middle School after his grandmother, Rain, breaks her leg and can’t take care of him. It’s hard to imagine a kid being as sheltered and naive as Cap is, but it’s a delicious plot point nevertheless. He knows Tai Chi, but has no idea how a checking account works. He is sensitive, kind, peaceful, and oh, so gullible, making him the perfect patsy for Zach Powers, the Big Man on Campus and his cronies.
Zach and the other kids routinely refer to their school as C Average Middle School (even altering the school sign, by dropping the ‘L’), but they show anything but average hostility to the new kid in school. Can you picture it? His wild hair is peppered with spit wads everyday, the kids rig the school elections to set him up as president and then tell him he has to learn the names of all eleven-hundred students. They invite him to non-existent meetings and give him the run around at every possible opportunity.
Reading along in this book I couldn’t help but think it would make a great movie. I’m sure Gordon Korman is on his knees praying for that to happen. Why not? Even if it is a bit unrealistic in its premise, it’s no more so than many a tale out there these days. It’s just so satisfying to see the worst intentioned efforts of the majority of the students roll off Cap’s tie-died back and to watch it turn around, as his home schooled ways rub off on his classmates.
Funny, well-written, satisfying, ready-made for Hollywood; what more could you ask? I think you’ll like it.
Does your school or home school teach high tech rescue?
Read about one when my new book series, Runt Farm, comes out in 2009.