A Week in the Woods

by Andrew Clements

Paperback, 2004



Local notes

PB Cle




Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2004), Edition: Reprint, 190 pages


The fifth grade's annual camping trip in the woods tests Mark's survival skills and his ability to relate to a teacher who seems out to get him.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

190 p.; 5.13 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Omrythea
A rich kid moves to a small town in New Hampshire, where his new teacher is not impressed with his "I don't care" attitude. He and his teacher end up learning a lot about each other when the two end up needing each other in the wilderness. And here is a cut and paste review:
Mark, the 11-year-old at
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the center of Clements's (Frindle; The Jacket) brooding and uneven novel, initially has no interest in making friends at his new school in Whitson, N.H., where his constantly traveling parents have just renovated and enlarged a 1798 farmhouse. Knowing that he's headed off to a prestigious boarding school next year, the boy has no incentive for pleasing his teachers and spends much of the day gazing out the classroom window. His science teacher, Mr. Maxwell, passes judgment on Mark before the boy finally decides to give the school a chance ("The only kind of people Mr. Maxwell disliked more than slackers were... buy-the-whole-world rich folks"). A showdown between boy and teacher occurs at the start of the annual environmental program organized by Mr. Maxwell for the fifth graders, who spend a week in a wooded state park. The teacher's discovery of Mark with a tool containing a knife (which actually belongs to another boy) climaxes with a pursuit through the woods. Unfortunately, the suspenseful sequence that follows and the engaging denouement account for only a fraction of the novel. Laborious passages about Mark's family's home and barn and the boy's preparations for the school trip, plus perhaps a bit too much description of Mr. Maxwell's background, bog down the story line and may derail readers drawn to the book's enticing title. Ages 9-13.
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LibraryThing member ranaemathias
Mark Robert Chelmsley (the Fourth) is a rich slacker kid; at least that’s what Mr. Maxwell, the science teacher at his new school thinks. Mark’s parents are part owners in a prosperous company. They have five homes, one of which is in Paris. They travel a lot for their business and leave Mark
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with Leon and Anya, the housekeeper and handyman/chauffeur who live with them. In order to get some tax breaks, they need to live in their new home in New Hampshire to establish residence. This means Mark will leave his posh private schooling experiences to attend the local public elementary school for the remainder of the year. He and his parents see this as a holding ground until he goes Runyon Academy Boarding School in the fall. Mr. Maxwell’s opinion of Mark is unfounded; Mark is actually ahead of his class due to his private schooling. Mark is lonely; his parents are gone a lot and he feels lost. He develops a closer relationship with Leon, who helps him enjoy the outdoors. He slowly comes to realize that his former life was so full of tutors, lessons, sports and activities that he never had time to himself. He finally sees that time is like a bank account that he could now spend any way he wanted. He decides to join the class trip “A Week in the Woods” and prepares himself with gear and necessary supplies. After a misunderstanding, he gets lost in the woods and Mr. Maxwell has to find him. When he finds him, he realizes he was wrong about Mark. Clements writes an engaging story with kid-friendly language. Almost every kid wants to be rich, and lives through Mark vicariously as he purchases his camping gear with his mother’s unlimited charge card. Leon and Anya are warm, caring substitutes for parents who are too involved with their business to give appropriate attention to their child. Mark’s character grows from a spoiled child into a more realistic 5th-6th grader who cares about making friends and fitting in. His parents are somewhat stereo-typed as the “wealthy elite”, but do come down to earth more toward the end of the story. Readers will see that “all that glitters is not gold” when it comes to being wealthy.
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LibraryThing member mochap
Okay--somewhat predictable, but still a fun read
LibraryThing member Mattiii
Mark Chelmsey is indeed a safisticated wealthy child. He is moving from his current home to another estate built over a farm. The town is very relaxed and not "Wealthy" so his arrival has been spread liek wildfire. It is a very good story of his adventures.
LibraryThing member hockey101
This book is about "Mark" a fith grader who moves to new Hampshire and is the smart Nerd until his teacher bringsup a camping trip for a whole week.
Mark thinks he shouls bring tons of stuff so he goes online and buys ten hundred dollars of stuff.
To find out what happens read the book!!!
LibraryThing member sirfurboy
This was a harmless adventure about a boy who moves to a new school and gets on the wrong side of a teacher, and how they resolve their differences. It is a children's book, and I expect 9-11 year olds could enjoy this book, but it is not a chidlren's book that adults would be particularly
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satisfied with.

The book is slow off the mark. Two thirds of the story are preparation for the week in the woods. Very little time is spent on the alleged subject, and all the preparation gets somewhat tedious. The conflict in the book is not very well defined, and we are perhaps told too much about the thought processes that lead the characters into their tension. Somehow it just did not work. The boy is impossibly mature and well behaved. The teacher does not act like a teacher.

The underlying concept is not bad, and there are brief flashes of humour, but all in all this is not a book I would particularly recommend.
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LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
When rich-kid Mark joins the fifth-grade class, Mr. Maxwell has him pegged - he's a slacker and a punk. He's got it out for Mark from the start. And Mark is a slacker at first... why make an effort when he knows he'll only be at this school for a few months before he starts an elite prep school in
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the fall? It's not like his parents are around to care about it anyway...

Can a week in the woods change their opinions about each other?

I am a huge Clements fan and I really enjoyed this one. Mr. Clements has a way of showing both sides of the story and he really pegged the relationship between a teacher and his student. Part school story, part survival story, I'd hand this one to fans of Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, etc.
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LibraryThing member SandraKLee
Andrew Clements currently has four bestselling middle grade novels besides this novel. Available on CD.
LibraryThing member librarymeg
Mark Chelmsley is the son of very wealthy parents who spend alot of time away from home. When they move to a small country town in New England, Mark has trouble fitting in at his new school, and has special trouble dealing with the science teacher, Mr. Maxwell. It isn't until Mark discovers a love
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of nature that he starts to feel at home in his new town, but will a shared love of camping be enough to unite Mark and Mr. Maxwell when things go wrong at the school's annual camping trip? This entertaining book shows how people can misunderstand each other and includes several great descriptions of camping in the wild. This story could serve as a great introduction to more intense survival stories like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet or the work of Jack London
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LibraryThing member littlepiece
Clements is one of my favorite elementary authors. His stories are always accented by little grace notes: moments of characterization and humanity, frequently from minor characters, that help the reader to understand why people behave like they do. A Week in the Woods is no exception as he
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naturally conveys why his main character is aloof, why the main teacher doesn't like him, and how they both change under difficult circumstances and come to understand each other.
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LibraryThing member sacamp
Mark has just moved to a new city with his wealthy family. He was told that he was to go on a trip in the woods for a week. but the one teacher that mark hated the most was boss.
LibraryThing member hoffer30380
Quick, holiday read. This book has a good plot, setting, and mood to it. This book helps the reader understand why people behave like they do.
LibraryThing member mark_14
Mark Chelmsy the Fourth is moving to a new town in late Feburary against his will. Mark has to go to a new school and has to make new friends. He doesn't like it. Then Mark realizes that since he moved so late in the school year, his grades in school won't count. So Mark doesn't even try in class.
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He just stares out the window. No one is friends with him. One day Mark decides he wants to change. But the teachers already think he's snotty. Will Mark change the teachers opinion? Or will he put his teacher and him in grave danger?! Is it too late?!
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LibraryThing member SRaval
it was a great exciting read aloud for me to enjoy it with my teacher reading it to the rest of my class.
LibraryThing member Tahleen
This is a great book club book for younger readers. There are a lot of really great activities and experiments you can tie in with this, like making your own compass or doing nature experiments.

The story is really good too. I love that Clements can create adult characters who are flawed. The
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relationships were the best part in my opinion, but the bit of adventure didn't hurt either.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Worthy of a Clements completist - not a good place to start with him. Iow, not his best work. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept that not all rich kids are brats and/or tragically neglected - Mark's parents do care and Mark is a good kid. And everyone learns a lesson and lives happily ever after.
LibraryThing member Sonya.Contreras
Andrew Clements in his book "A Week in the Woods" writes not just about a fifth-grade field trip, but a journey about biases, first-impressions, learning our own limits and conquering our weaknesses.

The fifth grade new-comer to the school needs a challenge, but also needs somewhere to belong. As he
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seeks to avoid boredom, he stumbles into nature and feels its call.

His fifth grade teacher thinks him to be a rich kid with no incentive until he forces his answer and finds that he is unchallenged. He gives him one chance. One chance may not be enough.

The struggle between adult and child was also a battle between viewpoints and whether to try again.

A moving book that intrigues the reader and wants more than just a simple solution. Clements gives that.

It was refreshing to have the fifth grader be mature, and struggle with deeper issues, not the typical silly character, for young boys.

My boys didn't want me to stop reading. We will look for other books by this author.
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LibraryThing member smosh
simply touching




½ (154 ratings; 3.9)
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