PROFESSIONAL BOOK REVIEW FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER

SCHOOLED by Gordon Korman

Being in a new environment full of uncertainties is exciting. The book Schooled authored by Gordon Korman follows the life of  Cap as he shifts from home schooling to a classroom based education. It talks about positive adaptation and the real importance of schooling. The review below was written by Norah Piehl from Kidsreads.com
“If you didn’t know better, you’d think that Capricorn Anderson arrived in a time machine. With his long, flowing hair, tie-dyed clothes and cornhusk sandals, he looks like something straight out of Woodstock when he shows up for his first day of school at Claverage (nicknamed “C-Average”) Middle School.

The thing is, Capricorn has sort of been living in a time warp. Living with his grandmother Rain as thelast two residents of the counterculture Garland Community, Capricorn has lived his whole life without telephones, television, iPods, or any of the other modern conveniences that clutter his new classmates’ lives. Capricorn doesn’t understand money — Rain, who has homeschooled Capricorn, considers it a necessary evil — and he has no friends except for his grandmother. But when Rain breaks her hip and Capricorn is sent to foster care during her recovery, he is about to get a crash course in modern living.

Sent to live with his case worker (a former Garland resident herself) and her bratty daughter, Capricorn is also enrolled at Claverage, where he is immediately targeted by big man on campus Zach Powers and the other popular students. At Claverage, the tradition is to elect the weirdest kid in the class as eighth-grade president. Cap fits the bill exactly.

 Clueless about politics, power and school dances, Cap nevertheless takes his job very seriously. Attending  (fake) press conferences, learning his classmates’ names, teaching them tai chi and tie dye, and doing a great job (he thinks) of handling the Student Activities budget responsibly, Capricorn gradually wins over C- Average, one peace sign at a time.

Like many of Gordon Korman’s previous novels, SCHOOLED treads a line just this side of absurdity. Although hippie Capricorn is just too outrageous to be entirely believable, he is nevertheless likable and sympathetic, possessing “all the idealism of the sixties with none of the reality checks.” Narrated by a half-dozen or more of Cap’s friends and acquaintances (as well as by Capricorn himself), Korman’s book shows how this lovable oddball gradually weaves his way into the lives — and ideals — of everyone he meets.

Just as Cap wins over even the most unlikely classmates, his anti-materialist, pro-simplicity message will  eventually get through to even the most diehard cell-phone-toting, Nintendo Wii-playing, designer-jeans- wearing readers. Through Capricorn’s example, Korman invites kids to reconsider what’s really important in their own lives and to be open to unorthodox ways of thinking, acting and living one’s life. Heavy stuff, right?   Maybe — but Korman’s skillful characterizations and off-the-wall humor make big ideas go down easily. “

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