Monday, December 17, 2018
Middle Grade Monday: The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody by Matthew Landis
The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody by Matthew Landis. 300 p. Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Young Readers Group, February, 2018. 9780735227989. (Review of finished copy borrowed from the public library.)
Middle Grade Monday features The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody by Matthew Landis. Twelve-year-old Oliver Prichard is a Civil War history buff. He knows everything about the battles, generals, successes and failures of the conflict. He even takes part in re-enactments. So when his seventh grade social studies teacher announces a huge project centered around the war, Ollie knows he has it nailed. He doesn't even need a partner. In fact, he would prefer to work alone. But when he's partnered with slacker, Ella Berry and she picks the name of Private Raymond Stone out of the hat, Oliver's dreams for a fantastic project fizzle. Private Stone never saw combat and died of dysentery. Still, he wants a good grade, so the two head to the local historical society to read some primary source documents and a friendship grows.
Middle school dynamics are spot on in this terrific read. Well, save for the use of cell phones and ear buds during the school day. Small quibble, maybe it's just my school that bans them in the classroom. No surprise that the author is a middle school social studies teacher.
Everything about this book is appealing from the cover to the voice. There's plenty of humor, a relatable main character and history! I loved how re-enactments and historical societies were seamlessly woven into the story. I can't wait to buy this for my own library and share it with my students.