Applewhites at Wit's End
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Applewhites at Wit's End is the sequel to the Newbery Honor book Surviving the Applewhites. This lighthearted tale of an artistic summer camp features children occasionally revolting against the adults in charge, but it's usually to everyone's benefit, especially when levelheaded kids E.D. Applewhite and former delinquent Jake take the lead.
What's the story?
Shortly after the events of Surviving the Applewhites, the Applewhites’ fortune has been embezzled and their creative lifestyle at their home school Wit's End is in danger of ending. When E.D.'s father announces they will generate income by starting a summer camp for creative children, the rest of the family lacks enthusiasm, to say the least. Despite themselves, each becomes interested in leading a workshop of their individual talents of acting, poetry, art, and music. Once the children arrive, however, the carefully planned workshops don’t go according to plan, and matters are complicated by the anonymous messages being left in the Applewhites' mailbox, threatening to shut them down. It's up to the levelheaded E.D. and former delinquent Jake to take the lead on figuring out what to do.
Is it any good?
From the chaotic start of camp to the campers' revolting at having to pursue artistic endeavors they're not interested in, the Wit's End summer camp almost seems doomed to failure at first. The fun lies in the way the family figures out how to make it work despite the many complications along the way. The cast of characters is so large it requires a descriptive list at the beginning of THE APPLEWHITES AT WIT'S END, and keeping track of all their doings makes for a less complex exploration of the two main characters, E.D. and Jake. They both pick up where they left off in Surviving the Applewhites, but their personal changes aren't as deep as in the first book. Still, readers will find it easy to get caught up in the campers' many madcap adventures and enjoy the frequent laugh-out-loud moments.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the Applewhites' summer camp grew from all the things the family loves -- performing, poetry, painting, and so on. If you were going to start a summer camp, what sorts of activities would you include?
The first campers to arrive are dismayed that there's no cell phone service. How would you handle the prospect of a summer without a cell phone?
Some of the campers came thinking they were going to explore one art form and ended up really liking to do something else -- have you ever been surprised at the direction your own interests took you?