Doing Time Online
Doing Time Online
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Annotation: After he is involved in a prank that led to an elderly woman's injury, twelve-year-old Mitchell must make amends by participating in a police program in which he chats online with a nursing home resident.
Catalog Number: #4641249
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Albert Whitman
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition Date: 2002
Pages: 88 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-8075-1665-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-8075-1665-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2001004092
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
When Mitch plays a trick on an elderly neighbor, the joke backfires and she gets hurt. As punishment, he has to take part in a police program for juvenile offenders during which he chats online twice a week with a nursing home resident across the state. Of course, he and his elderly partner, Wootie, become friends and end up helping each other, but Siebold pushes beyond formula bibliotherapy here--not only because the computer chat is fun and easy to read but also because Mitch and Wootie are realistic characters, sharp and funny, assertive and needy. Mitch eventually stops blaming the bully who drew him into the mean behavior and apologizes to his neighbor. Things get a bit too upbeat and purposive when Mitch stands up to the bully and wins. But what's best here has nothing to do with bullies or computer chat: it's the background story, told by Mitch, of his home life with his widower dad, a beautifully drawn portrait of a nurturing single parent.
Horn Book
After precipitating an unfortunate accident, Mitch is sentenced to one month of community service, chatting twice weekly online with a woman in a local nursing home. Their conversations introduce two likable individuals; the woman helps Mitch apologize for his actions, and he, in turn, helps her accept her present circumstances. The e-mail format and rosy resolution create a nondemanding and pleasant read.
Kirkus Reviews
One young man's punishment becomes an elderly woman's hope in the confines of an Internet chatroom. This intriguing narrative thinks outside the box, and should inspire more experiments with programs like the one presented here. Mitch logs on reluctantly at the police station under the supervision of Officer MacDougal, to pay his debt to society for a teen prank. His correspondent, Wootie, is a not-so-sweet old lady who herself is "stuck" in a nursing home while she mends. Each must slowly come to grips with the passages they are experiencing in their lives. While Mitch chafes at accepting some blame for the role he played in hurting a neighbor, irascible Wootie asks him directly just the right questions and advises him in just the right way to bring him along. Meanwhile, Mitch accidentally learns Wootie will not get to go back home, and the realization that she looks forward to their exchange helps him shoulder the responsibility of helping her to make the most of her situation, not to mention change her disposition. Mitch is able in the end to face apologizing to the neighbor, as well as turning tables on the bad, mean kid who instigated the whole prank. Siebold's dialogue—online and not—and first-person narrative furthers this coming-of-age story without extraneous judgments. It's a win-win story that would make Officer MacDougal proud. (Fiction. 9-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Mitchell, 12, is in big trouble. He is "sentenced" to do time twice every week at the police station because he and a friend played a prank that could easily have had serious consequences for an elderly neighbor. At the station, Mitch must be an e-mail pen pal to a nursing-home resident. Although resentful at first, he finds that his new friend gives him courage to finally admit that he is partially responsible for his neighbor's accident. Mitch's attempt to reclaim personal integrity includes just enough adventure to prevent didacticism. Siebold uses a simple diary format that includes Mitch's electronic conversations with his elderly friend to create an effective, contemporary novel dealing with everyday pressures that most students face. This is a book that will definitely appeal to a wide variety of readers, especially those who enjoy Donald J. Sobol's "Encyclopedia Brown" series or Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee (Little, Brown, 1990). E-mail gives a current twist to the idea of making the punishment fit the crime; the current plot combined with skillful writing will attract even the most recalcitrant readers.-Susan Cooley, Tower Hill School, Wilmington, DE Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (5/1/02)
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Word Count: 12,032
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 58230 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.1 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q31690
Lexile: 570L

Twelve-year-old Mitchell played a prank that led to an elderly woman's injury. Now he finds himself at the police station--his -sentence- is to chat online with a nursing home resident twice a week for the next month.

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