“Schooled” – Does It Teach Or Preach?

Book Review : Schooled by Gordon Korman

Spoiler Alert!

Capricorn Anderson has grown up on Garland Farm, of course now days the only people on the commune are him and his hippie grandma, Rain. When Rain falls out of a tree and is injured Capricorn has to be removed from his home, and is taken in by Mrs. Donnelly, his social worker. Mrs. Donnelly, who also had lived on Garland Farm as a child, feels a responsibility to try to help Cap when he is facing an unfamiliar world. Sophie, Mrs. Donnelly’s daughter, hates Cap from the moment she sees him, which he finds incomprehensible.

Cap’s major obstacle is attending public school and learning about his peers. The students have dubbed their school, C Average Middle School, and have an old tradition that the biggest weirdo gets elected class president. The new president will be harassed by the student body for the entire year. When Cap is elected president he is surprised, but is determined to do the job he has been elected to do. The big question is who will really be schooled by the end of the year?

Adult Point of View

Schooled is a great book, blending humor, tender moments and poignant questions. I highly recommend this book to all teens. One of the highlights is that it teaches a good message without preaching.

Respect, tolerance, kindness and honor in fulfilling a job are all lessons that are taught in Schooled. Cap has the innocence of a small child wanting to do what is right. Unlike a small child Cap never seems to get angry at others, though he is often baffled and confused over their behavior. Even in the face of being bullied he stays true to his own values. Interestingly he never seeks out popularity, which becomes one of the reasons that other students like him because he is always authentic and isn’t trying to earn their favor. Even most of the students who don’t always like Cap come to have a certain respect for him. One of my favorite scenes is when the art teacher is so excited because the kids are all tie-dying their clothes under Caps instructions. Other great moments include Cap having water thrown on him while doing Tai Chi, writing checks from the school funds for charities, Tears and Trigonometry (a soap opera) and his hemp sandals.

The viewpoint in the story does change from different student’s points of view which could be confusing for some readers. The novel is not entirely realistic and the ending is rather pat, but I still highly enjoyed Schooled because it is original and has good messages. Schooled could even be read by some pre-teens.

3.75 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

Teen Point of View

I loved this book! It is one of my top books ever. I love Capricorn and all the other characters. He is so naive and lovable. I thought it was so funny. I laughed out-loud every other page. I think all teens and young adults, plus a few grandmas, should read this book.

4.5 out 5

– the Daughter

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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