Mary's Reviews > A Week in the Woods
A Week in the Woods
by Andrew Clements
by Andrew Clements
I expected this book to be mostly an adventure story about a week in the woods, but in fact the danger and adventure cover about two chapters quite late in the book. Rather, the focus is on how fifth-grader, Mark Chelmsley, adjusts to a significant change in his life when he moves from Scarsdale, where he attends private school (as he has always done), to rural New Hampshire, where he is finishing out the year in a public school. Interestingly, although there's some misjudgment of New Hampshire and the students and teachers of Whitson on Mark's part, the emphasis here is more on how Mr. Maxwell (science teacher) - and the readers ourselves - may be too quick to judge what kind of person Mark is, simply because he is wealthy. Mark's privileged life is not without its problems (his parents, though caring, are often away for long periods of time, so he is largely being raised by a couple of Russian immigrants, Leon and Anya). Like other boys his age, there are things that frighten Mark, and he works to overcome those fears as he explores the barn and the woods around his new home. Mark's judgment is not perfect, but it's better than that of many 11-year-old boys, and Clements devotes a significant part of this book to demonstrating this. Outdoor adventure enthusiasts should enjoy the parts of the book dealing with Mark learning to snowshoe, exploring the woods around his home, reading about and shopping for essential camping gear, and the unforseen events of the week in the woods, but readers who like character-driven stories will enjoy this as well. Like Frindle, conflict with a teacher due to misunderstanding is a major plot in the story. This book is a bit longer and slightly more challenging read.
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