Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner by Dalya Moon
Publication Date: August 1, 2011
It's 1988, and Charlie Woodchuck is the most minor of niners. At thirteen, she’s the youngest girl at Snowy Cove High School, and so clueless, she wore leg warmers and acid-wash jeans on her first day. Big mistake! Almost as big a mistake as signing up for a boys-only shop class. Doy.
Just when she thinks the first week of high school can’t get any more weird, Charlie discovers she may be adopted. According to her Science textbook, her eyes should be blue, not brown.
Now the girl with the boy’s name will have to use her detective skills to uncover the mystery of her identity. She'll need the help of best friend Stacy, expert blackmailer, and new friend Ross, expert class clown.
Before the year ends, Charlie will face down the biggest bullies of all: the all-powerful members of Snowy Cove’s School Board. The Board doesn't like what Charlie's been up to, and they're all out of doughnuts.
Charlie Woodchuck is a freshman in the 1980’s, a minor niner. She is trying hard to find herself in the world of knee warmers. Charlie signs herself up for an all-boys woodworking class and becomes the face of a new movement in the students and the teachers. On top of that, she learns in her new genetics class that her parents might not be her own.
Down a road of confusion, courage, rebellion and new knowledge, Charlie finally begins to understand the choices and events surrounding her life. She also takes on one heck of a fight; changing the schools point of view on the same gender classes.
Charlie is refreshing and intelligent. She has guts, quiet confidence, and courage to stand up to what she believes in.
This story is so cute. Charlie poses as a boy (on paper) to get into a woodworking class. But, the class is only for boys, and because of her name, she gets into the class. She finds that she is actually pretty good at woodworking and enjoys it, but doesn’t so much enjoy the teacher and the boys in the class. I was very proud of her though when she does show the boys, the teacher, and the school board what she is made of.
There is also another part of the book that is very interesting to me; a part that really fueled a lot of Charlie’s rebellion. She finds that her parents might not actually be her real parents. She goes down an entertaining road to find the truth. When she does, she starts to see every brown haired, brown eyed woman as her mother. She is seeing mother’s everywhere! It is cute the confusion that she has, but a little heartbreaking to know how she is feeling and the emotions she is going through. But it turns out to be okay in the end and her parents are still her parents.
Charlie also has a friend named Stacy that makes the story a little more interesting. In short, I didn’t like her for most of the story. But, I think she is pretty necessary to it. She is rude and doesn’t seem to care for Charlie’s feelings. Eventually, you learn about the troubles in her own life and the turmoil she is going through and you begin to understand her. I don’t think it is okay for a person to treat a friend like dirt, but it was a reminder to maybe “walk a mile in another’s shoes”.
Along with Charlie finding out her mother is not biological, she finds that she may have a relative that has lived close by for years and she has never known. She finds that Kendra, the class know-it-all, is her cousin. I don’t believe she ever tells Kendra that they are cousins, but they do become very close friends.
By the end, Charlie is on a full out mission to show the school board that they should have more blended class. All the children should have a chance to learn the same subjects as one another. There is a performance at the end by the girls, a boy, and Charlie that shows the different genders can take on one another’s roles and succeed well. Charlie also gets a chance to show off her woodworking skills.
Charlie Woodchuck is an adorable girl with the voice of a woman and the name of a boy. She is thoughtful, inspiring, and vocal in her beliefs. I hope that more young people will strive to be a little more like Charlie.
Favorite character: Charlie!
Least favorite: Stacy and Charlie’s Mom