10th Anniversary Edition Louis Sachar received great recognition for his groundbreaking story of Stanley Yelnats – a boy with a history of bad luck. As School Library Journal predicted in their starred review of the book when it was first published, “Kids will love Holes.” A decade later, the book is still quenching young readers’ thirst for a gripping story about a far-reaching family curse, friendship, adventure, endurance, and, finally, a generous helping of good karma. Celebrate with this special 10th Anniversary Edition, which includes portraits of the author as a little brother (by his big brother), as a husband (by his wife), and as a father (by his daughter), along with photos and Louis Sachar’s 1999 Newbery acceptance speech. Vladimir Radunsky, who created the original iconoclastic cover illustration, has made new art from the familiar images. Wrapped in an acetate jacket, this edition is an appealing package that will be equally welcome in public, school, or home libraries. Holes is a 1998 New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year and the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the 1999 Boston Globe – Horn Book Award for Fiction and the 1999 Newbery Medal.
“If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy.” Such is the reigning philosophy at Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention facility where there is no lake, and there are no happy campers. In place of what used to be “the largest lake in Texas” is now a dry, flat, sunburned wasteland, pocked with countless identical holes dug by boys improving their character. Stanley Yelnats, of palindromic name and ill-fated pedigree, has landed at Camp Green Lake because it seemed a better option than jail. No matter that his conviction was all a case of mistaken identity, the Yelnats family has become accustomed to a long history of bad luck, thanks to their “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!” Despite his innocence, Stanley is quickly enmeshed in the Camp Green Lake routine: rising before dawn to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter; learning how to get along with the Lord of the Flies-styled pack of boys in Group D; and fearing the warden, who paints her fingernails with rattlesnake venom. But when Stanley realizes that the boys may not just be digging to build character–that in fact the warden is seeking something specific–the plot gets as thick as the irony. It’s a strange story, but strangely compelling and lovely too. Louis Sachar uses poker-faced understatement to create a bizarre but believable landscape–a place where Major Major Major Major of Catch-22 would feel right at home. But while there is humor and absurdity here, there is also a deep understanding of friendship and a searing compassion for society’s underdogs. As Stanley unknowingly begins to fulfill his destiny–the dual plots coming together to reveal that fate has big plans in store–we can’t help but cheer for the good guys, and all the Yelnats everywhere. (Ages 10 and older) –Brangien Davis
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