Saturday, March 26, 2011
Korman, G. (2007). Schooled. New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children.
Capricorn Jackson was born and raised on a commune called Garland Farm. He remembers other people living there when he was younger, but for the last few years, it was only he and Rain, his grandma and homeschooling teacher. When Rain falls out of a tree and breaks her hip, Capricorn is placed with child services while she heads to physical therapy for a few months. His case worker happens to have also lived on Garland Farms and decides to take Cap home to live with she and her teenage daughter. Cap starts going to school at Claverage School, or C Average School as the kids like to call it. It is customary for the eighth grade class to vote the least popular student in as the class president each year. As soon as Cap shoes up with his waist length hair, tie dyed clothing, and homemade sandals, it was clear who this year’s president is going to be. The popular kids used Cap’s lack of knowledge about life outside of the commune to their advantage. They made life as difficult for him as they could. But, when Cap saves the bus driver having a heart attack to the hospital, getting himself arrested in the process, the kids in the school begin to have a whole new outlook on him. All of a sudden more and more kids are interested in doing tai chi and tie dye with Cap. As his popularity grows and Cap's lack of knowledge of the real world gets himself in some financial trouble, his grandmother gets better and takes him back to Garland Farms. But, now that Cap has had a taste of friendships and reality television, will he be content with his quiet secluded life with Rain?
This book was recommended to me as a book tween boys would be interested in reading. It was a funny book, with an original concept. The innocence and naivety of Cap as he navigates this new world he has been kept from is what makes this book funny. I enjoyed the sweet touch of Cap learning all eleven hundred of his classmates' names. Without trying, and by simply being himself, Cap captured the attention and respect of his classmates. I liked that the chapters were each narrated by different characters in the book and from their own point of view, but at times I would have to flip back to see who was narrating that particular chapter because I would forget whose perspective was being shared.
realistic fiction, humor
Ages 9 - 12
bullies, popularity, homeschooling
Capricorn Anderson (Cap): 13 year-old boy; grew up on a hippie commune, Garland Farm, with his grandmother; moves in with Mrs. Donnelly and her daughter; becomes eighth grade president of Claverage School
Rachel Esther Rosenblatt (Rain): Cap's grandmother; breaks her hip and is unable to take care of Cap for a few months; head of hippie commune
Floramundi Donnelly: Cap's caseworker; grew up on Garland Farm; divorced; has 16 year-old daughter; takes in Cap
Sophie Donnelly: pretty, popular girl; Cap lives with her and her mother while his Rain is recovering; thinks Cap is a freak and is mean to him at first; Cap is attracted to Sophie
Zach Powers: eighth grade captain of various sports teams; popular kid; bullies Cap by making him eighth grade president
Hugh Winkleman: Cap took his place as least popular student at Claverage School; was Cap's first friend
Naomi Erlanger: popular girl at Cap's school; at first likes Zach and helps him bully Cap; eventually falls for Cap
Having grown up on a commune, secluded from everything outside of his simple life shared with his grandmother, Capricorn Anderson is suddenly forced to attend a regular middle school. His lack of knowledge about the real world makes Cap an easy target for bullies, but his kindness eventually wins over the school.