Title: The Last Holiday Concert
Author: Andrew Clements
Major Themes: Music, School
Synopsis: When preparations for the school chorus’s part in the holiday concert degenerate into chaos, can Hart find a way to pull everyone together?
I’ve enjoyed Andrew Clements’ books for a number of years. They are all about school children, 5th or 6th grade, who find themselves in interesting situations. There is often a surprise twist toward the end of the book. The characters always seem very real.
In The Last Holiday Concert, Hart finds himself with quite a dilemma. He has always been, without even trying, the most popular boy in elementary school. This year, in the Palmer Intermediate School, which was only sixth grade, he is still the most popular. He doesn’t enjoy chorus, however, so he does something about that—and finds himself in trouble. Hart getting in trouble does something to the chorus teacher, Mr. Meinert, though, and when the class acts up and doesn’t want to cooperate in preparing for the holiday concert, Mr. Meinert gets mad.
Mr. Meinert has had it with the sixth-graders. He turns the holiday concert completely over to them—what will they make of it? Unwillingly, Hart finds himself in the position he least wanted—and what will he do with it? What about all the bickering that is going on? Can the children learn to work together, or will their differing opinions cause disaster?
I enjoyed this story showing how people with very strong opinions can learn to work together and compromise for the good of all. It was also interesting to see how a well-timed sentence or two here and there could change the atmosphere in a group. This was a fun story to read.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12