Dave Packer reads about Mahatma Gandhi while learning all about India in social studies class. The fifth grader is fascinated to discover that Gandhi used to spend one day each week not speaking so he could bring order to his mind. Dave, a consummate blabbermouth, thinks this might be an interesting experiment. As Dave sits quietly in the school cafeteria, the voices of the other children ring out loud and clear.
None are louder than Lynsey Burgess. Dave bets Lynsey that she can’t go five minutes without talking. She accepts this lofty challenge on behalf of the fifth-grade girls, and the contest rules are set. The boys and the girls will attempt to say as few words as possible for two full days. At school they may answer adults with a three-word response, but there must be no talking at home before or after school. The youngsters agree to operate under the rule of the honor system, and Lynsey and Dave will keep score. The team that utters the most words loses.
The reactions of the staff at Laketon Elementary to this sudden news are mixed. Because this class has been affectionately known as “The Unhushables” since kindergarten, their silence is highly suspicious. Several of the teachers welcome the quiet, but the principal is not happy. She feels as if she’s losing control, and her red plastic bullhorn is gathering dust.
Andrew Clements is the award-winning author of FRINDLE and many popular school stories, including LUNCH MONEY, THE JANITOR'S BOY, THE LANDRY NEWS and THE REPORT CARD. He raises an interesting premise in his latest book, especially during this age of cell phones, pagers and text messaging. Kids are never unplugged, and they talk a mile a minute just to keep up. NO TALKING succeeds in showing the power of words, both spoken and unspoken.
Reviewed by Renee Kirchner on June 23, 2009
- Publication Date: June 23, 2009
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
- ISBN-10: 1416909842
- ISBN-13: 9781416909842