Sep 26, 2008

The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids

by Stanley Kiesel

I don't recall how I first found this book, but I read it when I was a teen and enjoyed it, even though it's written for a younger age group. The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids is about a student rebellion in a public grade school. Led by a skinny, nerdy boy who unites all the different groups of students in sabotage against their teachers and the evil principal who wants to force them all into conformity. Eventually events escalate into outright warfare. This book is pretty funny, and at the same time makes some good points about friendship, loyalty, and the value of individuality- even if it's all very exaggerated. There's a matronly janitor who acts as mentor and spy, a wild girl who will eat anything, and of course, the bookworms. They don't want to have anything to do with the war, just sit in peace in their hidey-holes (sewer tunnels under the school), read and swap books! I think my favorite part was reading about the titles they traded and coveted. Eventually they're convinced to join in the rebellion as well. I had to search long and hard to find the sequel, Skinny Malinky Leads the War for Kidness, but it wasn't half as good as The War and I can't even remember much about it now.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 214 pages, 1980


  1. Anonymous9/27/2008

    I wish I'd known about this one when I was still in school! :-)

  2. I've been trying to find a copy of this since my last went by the wayside (with a first printing of Slaughterhouse 5.)

    I think that I will be frequenting Amazon with my next paycheck.

    Oh, Wednesday, come sooner!


  3. Ms. Hartwig's class, sixth grade, Hollingworth Elementary in West Covina, California.

    Over the years I've sometimes tried to find the book without remembering the author, the title, or any other information.
    I've been googling "status quo solidifier" every six months or so since, well, the invention of Google. And today I got lucky.

    She assigned it to us, which even then seemed strange to me. But this book changed my life, or rather was crucial to its creation.
    Any teacher who would give this as assigned reading has the heart of a poet, and I wish now I could have known that heart as a man.
    I'm in my thirties and Ms. Hartwig must surely be dead or demented by now as she had kids in college back then. But thank you anyway, Ms. Hartwig.

    I'm buying this for my nephews as soon as they are old enough.

  4. I literally just finished reading this book. At first I bought it just because the title was funny. But the more I read the more I got into it. Yes the concept of kids vs teachers is ancient but this gave it a whole new wardrobe metaphorically speaking. I could actually see all of this happening in my head! The second I finished reading it I got online to see if there was a sequel. And there is! So I am definately going to track that down nest.


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