07 September 2007
I have always been impressed with Andrew Clements' ability to surround his too-precocious-for-their-own-good protagonists (Nick from Frindle comes to mind) with wise adults. This is especially impressive because so many of his books take place in public schools. And because (I hope I'm not too inclusive in saying this) the general public has been told that public school teachers are jaded and unmotivated, and that an enlightened teacher is the exception rather than the rule, the presence of adults who see teaching opportunities in almost every interaction they have with the kids, is refreshing and an excellent plot device. No Talking is a lot of fun so far, as the boys and girls of one fifth grade class try to outlast each other during a two day silence contest. The narrator's voice is strong here, which makes sense since the characters themselves seldom speak. This is not the first time Andrew Clements has explored the consequences of talking, as fans of Double Trouble in Walla Walla will well remember.