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Running Away to School

Author: Maryjo Holland
Genre: Children's Fiction
Reviewed by Karyn Walden-Forrest

10080402When I saw the title Running Away to School I had no idea what to expect. This book was quite different than any other book I've read, with an interesting telling of a surviving away from home as a child type of story.

Running Away to School is written by Maryjo Holland who is a retired elementary school teacher. It tells the story of a misfit boy named Dirk who, at the beginning of the book, has gotten in trouble for beating up another student on the school bus on the last day of school before Christmas break. His mother is upset at him and when Christmas arrives Dirk sees no presents under the tree with his name on them. So he excuses himself, packs some things and decides to run away.

Thinking about a safe place to stay alludes him for a while, but ultimately he figures he can stay at the school during the break because noone will be there, it wilCl be warm enough from the cold, and he would be able to find food leftovers hopefully. Thus the name of the novel.

The author does a good job of describing Dirk's thoughts. Not a lot of conversation occurs as Dirk remains in hiding, hoping to not be found. This boy is resourceful in his new home but it is still difficult to cheer for this "bad boy" for most of the book.

However as the story progresses and different events, such as a painful tooth, and witnessing another student he thought was a goody-two- shoes do something he shouldn't have done, Dirk seems to change. And with the change the reader can come to relate with him more and want something to turn out right for him.

After almost 6 months staying in the school undiscovered, summer break approaches and Dirk knows he won't be able to live without any food for that long. He ventures out to find a new alternative place to stay and finds himself in a new predicament. Fortunately it turns out for the best. Exactly how? Read it for yourself to see.

The only negative I found to this book was that the entire story, including the ending, is found on the back cover. I like to know something about a story, but I want an element of surprise as I'm reading it.

Overall this book is an interesting read for children aged 8-12. It is a short read at 49 pages, but presents situations that children could relate to and learn from. An upper elementary student will enjoy this twist on running away from home.

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October 28, 2004 in Children | Permalink

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