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Libby on Wednesday    by Zilpha Keatley Snyder order for
Libby on Wednesday
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Order:  USA  Can
Yearling, 1991 (1990)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Libby on Wednesday stars eleven-year-old Libby McCall. Previously homeschooled, she enters public school for the socialization that Mom considers an important part of education. At Morrison Middle School, with four others, Libby wins a writing contest judged at the school's Literary Festival. The Wednesday Future Famous Writers is led by Ms. Ostrowski, who shares writing techniques and tools. Students are expected to 'constructively critique' each other's work. Their teacher writes the first chapter and FFW5 members are assigned additional chapters.

Libby focuses on contemporary stories; Alex Lockwood, from a special ed program, concentrates on comedies; golden-haired student leader Wendy Davis majors in contemporary works; Tierney Laurent, known for her punk hairdo and dress style, delivers detective stories; while school bully Gary Greene specializes in science fiction. At age eleven, Libby is still small of frame and of short stature. She's always been a fast learner, reading the New York Times and understanding the works of Socrates at an early age. At school Libby has been christened McBrain, while bully Gary calls her 'Little Frankenstein ... All brain and no body.' One evening at the dinner table Libby blurts out 'I've decided to quit school again', but family members support Mom's socialization decision.

To work off her frustration and exasperation, Libby runs her course through the mansion's hallways and large rooms, and up and down stairways. She often stops to converse with her grandfather's portrait, saying 'It's all your fault, really ... None of it would have happened if you'd been something normal like a farmer or a businessman ... instead of a famed and fortuitous writer and world traveler.' After her four classmates suggest a visit to see the inside of the famed McCall Mansion, an unexpected accident brings on a surprising rallying of the five to work together, as each learns what the others are all about. Just as their critiques of each other's works evolve, so do the things they have in common as the story unfolds and enfolds.

Libby on Wednesday is a story with different twists as its characters - each with their own particular problems and life circumstances - learn a lesson about acceptance of the lives of others. Within the story, Zilpha Keatley Snyder offers insight into where writing ideas can come from. Other recent titles by the acclaimed author include The Bronze Pen, The Treasures of Weatherby, The Magic Nation Thing, and The Egypt Game.

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