This book for children has won numerous awards including the Newbery Medal and is often used in upper elementary and middle school language arts classrooms. It tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to a juvenile detention center after being wrongly accused of a crime.
The Main Body:
Stanley Yelnats IV comes from a family famous for the bad luck that seems to follow it. Ever since a gypsy put his great, great grandfather under a curse for stealing a pig, it seems that unfortunate things happen to the Yelnats men.
When young Stan is in the wrong place at the wrong time and accused of stealing the basketball shoes that belong to legendary player Clyde Livingston, he figures it is his turn to experience the misfortune common to his family. He is sent to Camp Green Lake where he is sentenced to dig holes five feet wide and five feet deep under the blazing sun in a dry lakebed.
It soon becomes obvious to Stan, however, that the warden is actually using the juveniles to search for something buried in the area. Stanley and his friend Zero employ all of their ingenuity to figure out a way to outsmart the authorities and escape from their situation. Louis Sachar intersperses the story of Camp Green Lake with several tales of Stanley’s ancestors and the things that happened to them in the past.
The plot lines are cleverly intertwined until the climax is reached when all of the elements come together in a most satisfying way. Young children, under the age of eight or so, may find this story a little bit difficult to follow. The way it jumps back and forth between the present and the past could be confusing for some.
Tweens, teens, and even their parents will be engaged in Stanley’s struggles, however, and will enjoy trying to unravel the complex threads of the plot as they listen. The well-developed characters and intriguing storyline will keep most listeners on the edge of their seats.
Kerry Beyer is the narrator of the book and does a commendable job. He manages to capture Stanley’s spirit and bring life to the secondary characters, as well. The book is produced as a straight narration, without sound effects or voice actors, which is another reason it may not be appealing to the youngest listeners.
Most family members will be very pleased with the production, however, and will understand why Holes has received so much positive attention.