Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Last Holiday Concert - Chapters 1 - 4

Chapter 1: "Palmer Kids"
We are introduced to Hart Evans, sixth grader at Palmer Intermediate. Hart's a popular kid thrilled that, for the first time, he's in a different school than his fourth grade sister, Sarah.

Chapter 2: "Coolness"

While attending a special event in the school auditorium, Hart thinks about how he is one of the coolest kids in his class, how he and other cool kids became friends at the beginning of the school year, and how the one uncool thing in his life is being in the school chorus. "Chorus simply was not cool, not one bit of it, which meant that chorus cramped Hart's style in the worst possible way." (p. 16)

Chapter 3: "Misfire"
Hart decides that the one thing that will improve chorus is shooting rubber bands in the direction of Mr. Meinert, the music teacher. He's caught and brought to the principal who gives him 2 days of detention.

Chapter 4: "Bad Behavior"

Mr. Meinert is furious that Hart's punishment was so light. He and the principal get into a big fight about it and Mr. Meinert is reprimanded for his own bad behavior - grabbing Hart's arm and getting so angry. We also find out that Mr. Meinert has been laid off from his job, effective January 1st, because of town budget cuts.

The first four chapters really set the scene for what's to come. I'm expecting a big showdown between Mr. Meinert and Hart. It's pretty clear that Mr. Meinert feels that there isn't much for him to loose by singling Hart out. Hart's going to need to watch out...

Hart seems like a nice enough kid but I wondered about the part where Hart is remembering back to earlier that morning (before the assembly) when he and the other sixth graders were outside the auditorium. Hart remembers smiling and talking to a lot of different kids. "And it wasn't fakey nice. Hart was for real. (p. 13) Really? It sounded kind of fake to me, like part of his act. What do you think? Is Hart for real or is he playing the part of the cool kid who's nice to everyone else?

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