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This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall! (MacDonald Hall, #1)
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This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall! (Macdonald Hall #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  1,774 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Fast, funny action, written by a thirteen-year-old boy.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Hyperion Books for Children (first published 1977)
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May 25, 2007 Ferret rated it liked it
Shelves: childrensbooks
Korman's first novel, written when he was about fifteen. It's clearly unpolished, but there's something so frenzied and exuberant about it that it makes up for it. A wonderfully funny novel.
Alex Ristea
What a childhood throwback!

I was a voracious reader in my early years, but I'm sad to say that I can barely remember what books I enjoyed. Well, the MacDonald Hall adventures were one of them, and the magic is still there.

Not sure how accurately I can review this, just because it's a 100 page children's book. Plot moves a lot quicker, characters are more two-dimensional, and description is minimal. But who cares; Bruno and Boots!

Also, have I mentioned that the author was FOURTEEN when this book
Jan 10, 2009 Trin rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya, canadian-lit
Thanks to the public library, I was finally able to find out what people were talking about when they squeed about Bruno & Boots. Of course, soon after the fickle library gods betrayed me: only the first book is available, which is a TRAGEDY, because this series is clearly great, funny and delightful and truly squee-worthy. Note: I do not add "slashy," because while the book is, I feel uncomfortable slashing anyone who is, as Korman establishes, "not yet old enough to shave."

However, the cov
Mar 26, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing
The Bruno and Boots books by Gordon Korman were brilliant. I read them back when I was about 9 or 10 and enjoyed them so much I remember them fondly 18 years later.

I'm thinking I might re-read them even.
Dec 29, 2007 Punk rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
YA. Boarding school hijinks. Best friends and roommates Bruno and Boots have been up to no good too many times and The Fish (headmaster of Macdonald Hall) is finally putting his foot down, separating Bruno and Boots and giving them new roommates. Bruno and Boots, by the way, are totally not down with that.

This is a fun little book with capers, harmless riots, and a happy ending. The boys are troublemakers, but not overly malicious, and if the writing's a little simplistic all we need to do is re
Jan 10, 2015 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This didn't hold up, either. Which was kinda depressing, considering the way I read and reread this and half fell over, holding my sides, every single time.
Tara Carpenter
Jun 05, 2015 Tara Carpenter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
I was such a fan of Gordon Korman's early books, written when he was in his teens. They are hard to find now but I pick them up where I can and I've been sitting on a box set of the Bruno and Boots stories for a couple years. I pulled the first out today to see if my 10yo is ready for them and enjoyed a riotous, LOL filled 30 minutes. Like, actually laughing out loud, just like I remember doing when I read these as a kid.

These early books may not be as well-crafted as Korman's newer ones, but I
Ericy Yine
Dec 21, 2011 Ericy Yine rated it really liked it
Shelves: december
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2009 Student rated it it was amazing
Review by Jacob Dunn 203
Bruno and Boots (This can't be happening at Macdonald hall!)

3.) Did you enjoy the book? Why? Why not?
I found that the novel Bruno and Boots was really funny. I found that it was funny because it is all about Bruno and Boots playing practical jokes on students at their boarding school. An example is when they took hundreds of ants this guy collected and let them loose in the hallways and everybody went crazy. “The racket was beginning to penetrate into the other rooms.”
Maggie Gordon
I'm sure I read most of the MacDonald Hall series when I was a kid. Though I don't remember the specifics, I do remember rereading more than a few. And now, as an adult, I find out the books were written by a teenager? That would have been so cool to know when I was younger!

In any case, these are silly, but well loved Canadian classics.
A hilarious tale of two boys and their crazy antics in boarding school. Through their unusual bond and their quick thinking they are always getting into trouble that in the end things turn out just the way they want them to. A great addition to a school classroom library.
Chris G
Feb 10, 2015 Chris G rated it liked it
(2.5 stars)
Ms. Yingling
Dec 06, 2015 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it
Bruno and Boots are roommates at a Canadian boarding school, and are always in trouble with the headmaster, Mr. Sturgeon, aka The Fish, for one thing or another. They replace the Canadian flag outside their dorm right before a big hockey game, steal the other team's mascot, and generally cause a ruckus wherever they go. Even though they are fairly good at covering their tracks, Mr. Sturgeon decides they have to be punished for their latest transgressions, and assigns the boys new roommates. Brun ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Alison rated it really liked it
First introduced to this author when my grade 5 teacher read this aloud to us. I have been reading his work ever since.
My children are now big enough that I started reading it to them. Sometimes it was hard to convince them that we should read together, but once we started I was usually asked if we could read another chapter.
Finally finished today and we rolled right into the next Bruno and Boots book. Looks like they are going to be fans too.
Chanel Earl
May 29, 2010 Chanel Earl rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-youngadult
I read another book in this series when I was younger, but I had no idea it was a series. I thought it was a stand alone book. When I saw this one at the Red Cross book sale last week (on half price box day!!!) I couldn't resist. I liked it too. I wish I had read the whole series as a child because I know they would have been my favorites.
Tim Thompson
Oct 06, 2015 Tim Thompson rated it it was amazing
Reading a Bruno and Boots book by Gordon Korman is a serious shot of nostalgia! I first read the series in 5th and 6th grade in the 1980s. One of my best friends had purchased the first four books, through a Scholastic book order, as part of a boxed set. We passed these books around and were spellbound and in stitches over the madcap adventures of the boys from the Canadian boarding school. I am constantly amazed when I reflect on the fact that Gordon Korman wrote this particular book as a class ...more
Jul 13, 2007 Path rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ages 9 and up
This book is very entertaining. Although it is really geared to the pre-teen to early teen reader, I found it well written and it made me laugh out loud.
Stacy Morgan
Jan 19, 2016 Stacy Morgan rated it it was amazing
Oh my word! This book is freaking hilarious.
Okay, 16-year-old girl here reading a book for middle schoolers. WHY IS THIS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOLERS?
Bruno and Boots are two boys at a boarding school. These two boys get into loads of trouble with any number of members in the animal kingdom. From people to ants, cats to skunks, and any number of things in the middle, this book will keep you laughing every minute. One thing's for certain: no book is like this one.
In my humble but accurate opinion, everyo
Aug 23, 2007 Mark rated it really liked it
Bruno and Boots meant so much to me when I was a kid. I thought it was hilarious at the time. I would love to read it again.
Feb 10, 2016 annapi rated it liked it
Nowhere near as good as the first Korman book I read, Ungifted, but very amusing despite its mistakes (such as taking a queen ant for a walk). However, when you consider that this book was published when the author was 14, it is quite impressive.

MacDonald Hall is a boys' boarding school in Toronto, Canada. The protagonists of the story are the troublemakers, Bruno and Boots, and in the tradition of Enid Blyton's school series we are treated to one escapade after another. Quite enjoyable for a l
Jan 20, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Bruno and Boots are roommates at a boarding school until they are separated as a punishment for getting into too much trouble TOGETHER. Each of them moves into a new dorm room with a new roommate. They find this challenging because A) their new roommates are weird and B) they just want to room together again. They hatch a series of hilarious plans to be able to move back in with each other. It turns out that they are surprising heroes toward the end of the book (surprising even themselves) and t ...more
Aug 16, 2012 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
One of my very favorite childhood books.
Feb 16, 2008 Katy rated it really liked it
Bruno and Boots--what a riot!
Mar 03, 2008 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth-8-12
Loved these books!
Michael Emond
Oct 08, 2013 Michael Emond rated it liked it
I used to love this series when I was a child so I wanted to revisit them to see if they still held the same charm. Unfortunately, the answer is a big "no". While I would still recommend them to a seven to ten year old starting to read bigger novels, they don't have the same magic other childhood favorites of mine still have when I reread them now (e.g. The Big Brain series). The pluses are Korman knows how to create fun characters and nice comical situations. He knows how to keep the story movi ...more
Nov 29, 2007 Mary-Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, humour
The Macdonald Hall series is set in a boarding school. The main character, Bruno and Boots are constantly in trouble, a trouble usually led by Bruno, with Boots trying to be the straight man and the voice of reason. This is a formula found throughout Korman's books, but I'm not going to say it's a bad thing because I love it.

All of the boys at the school are wonderful characters and they have a unique relationship with the girls' boarding school nearby, a school run by Miss Scrimmage, a crazed h
Una novela juvenil es algo bastante 'out of character' en mi persona, lo sé. Pero lo cierto es que con ésta me lo he pasado muy bien. Bruno y Boots residen en un internado en Canadá y su principal pasatiempo consiste en hacer bromas al director de la institución. Bromas que nunca son demasiado pesadas o demasiado crueles, algo que agradezco. Es por esto que el director decide separarlos. Están castigados y a partir de ahora ya no compartirán nunca más habitación. A Bruno le ponen con un empollón ...more
Nov 02, 2015 LobsterQuadrille rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to laugh
4.5 stars

This is the very first Bruno and Boots book, and such a clever, witty story considering how young Korman was when he wrote it! The wonderful, lovable characters seem very human and are highly sympathetic and entertaining. I especially love how Mr. Sturgeon laughs till he cries after reprimanding Bruno and Boots for one of their crazy schemes. I love how Elmer Drimsdale and Bruno become friends and Elmer even gives Bruno one of his newly hatched goldfish. I even love how towards the end
Jun 29, 2016 Erin rated it it was amazing
The MacDonald Hall books are my absolute childhood favorites. Gordon Korman's wacky Canadian humor is over the top and hysterical. As a kid, all of his books had me in tears with laughter and they still hold up as an adult. I loved Bruno and Boots and I wished I could have attended Miss Scrimmage 's Finishing School for Young Ladies. I hope my kids enjoy them as much as I did. :)
Apr 21, 2015 Miss rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
pure shenanigans. a lot thinner then i remember but ehh. korman wrote this when i was fifteen, what was i doing with my life at fifteen? not writing the start to a best selling comedy series i can tell you. plus i did get a couple of solid laughs in throughout

2.5 stars
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Korman wrote his first book, "This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall", when he was 12 years old, for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English. He later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in "The Sixth Grade Nickname Game", wherein Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.

Korman moved to New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While i
More about Gordon Korman...

Other Books in the Series

Macdonald Hall (7 books)
  • Go Jump in the Pool! (MacDonald Hall, #2)
  • Beware the Fish! (MacDonald Hall, #3)
  • The War with Mr. Wizzle (MacDonald Hall, #4)
  • The Zucchini Warriors (MacDonald Hall, #5)
  • MacDonald Hall Goes Hollywood (MacDonald Hall, #6)
  • Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall (MacDonald Hall, #7)

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