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The Last Holiday Concert Paperback – October 3, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–Sixth-grader Hart Evans's least-favorite class is chorus, where uptight Mr. Meinert makes them sing boring songs. When Hart shoots a couple of rubber bands at the teacher, the man overreacts and is angry when the smooth-talking boy gets off relatively unscathed. Although the class is not told, readers learn that Mr. Meinert will lose his job after January 1 because of budget cuts. When the students act up the next day, he snaps and decides to place the responsibility for the holiday concert in their hands. This sets in motion a series of events that leaves Hart running the show with the teacher watching, learning, and eventually helping out. The plot unfolds to encompass control issues, democratic procedures, and an end product that wows the crowd. Clements is a master at taking elements of relatively common school situations and turning them into masterful stories with truly engaging characters. Foreshadowing provides glimpses of the program during the chapters leading up to the conclusion, but the climactic description of the event will leave youngsters teeming with emotion. The book's accessible language and quick pace will also appeal to reluctant readers.–Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. After Hart shoots a rubber band at Mr. Meinert, he finds that the chorus teacher is not just annoyed but furious. Unbeknownst to Hart, all the faculty art and music positions have been eliminated, and Mr. Meinert will not be returning after the winter holiday concert. When the teacher unexpectedly turns the concert planning and preparation over to the students, they vote to make Hart their leader. This entertaining novel relates Hart's ups and downs in his challenging new role. The story also delves into the problems and emotions of Mr. Meinert and, to a lesser extent, Hart's younger sister. These shifts in viewpoints and sympathies are unusual and to some extent enlightening, but the narrative always reverts to Hart's thread of the story, which children will probably find most involving. Many school stories focus on underdogs; this one expresses the concerns of a boy who is popular, yet still under stress. Convincing in its portrayal of middle-school life, this accessible novel will find a ready audience. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 800 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689845251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689845253
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George Buttner VINE VOICE on January 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The events of "The Last Holiday Concert" begin with a boy flinging rubber bands during a choir practice which he considers to be incredibly boring. Irritated at this childish behavior and upset because his position will soon be eliminated, the instructor decides he's had enough. When very little disciplinary action is taken against the student, he lays down a challenge --- organizing the upcoming holiday concert will be all up to the students and he's stepping out of the matter entirely.

The boy who flung the rubber bands quickly takes charge, feeling that he could manage things much better than what the teacher had been doing. He soon finds that matters aren't as simple as he thought and that without guidance, things are getting out of control. But with help, he and the class find themselves on the way to a holiday concert that will be one everyone in attendance will remember.

Those who have read many of Clement's past works will find that things go rather differently in this one than in some of his other stories. That's good thing and the ending of this book leaves a lot to think about.
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Format: Hardcover
Andrew Clements creates multi-faceted characters with all the foilbles and frailties of real human beings, which is what makes them interesting. Hart Evans starts out as a smart-alecky kid intent on doing the minimum required of him. When his exasperated and soon-to-be unemployed chorus teacher, Mr. Meinert, decides to put Hart in charge of the school's holiday concert while taking a break, everyone is in for some rough times. This book takes an editorial stance against budget cuts for the arts in schools but doesn't get preachy. The ending is not a surprise; after all, this is an Andrew Clements book. But, the process through which the characters develop leadership, teamwork, and creativity is a wonder.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Last Holiday Concert is by Andrew Clements. Clements is the author of Frindle which is enjoyed by many children in elementary school. This new book joins the ranks of books like Frindle to be loved by all who read it.
Hart Evans is a popular student in elementary school. Will this hold over to Intermediate school as all sixth graders in Brentbury converge on Palmer Intermediate School. At the first assembly, Hart gets his first look at the entire class he will now be in. Can he make his mark here? Where will he fit in the 400 classmates? Hart sets out to be popular once more.
Hart’s least favorite class was chorus. He really wanted to play the drums in band; but they had too many applicants for all to be accepted. His recourse was chorus which could be a good class if not for the teacher, Mr. Meinert. Hart liked music and liked to sing; but he wanted to do it his way, not Mr. Meinert’s way. Now he gets his chance. Mr. Meinert gave the class control of the upcoming Christmas concert and the class elected Hart as director. Now if he could just get the class to cooperate!

As Hart works his way through the process of putting on a concert, his respect for Mr. Meinert is raised. He begins to learn the difference between being popular and instructing. He learns to work with others to get something accomplished. Will the concert be a success or a failure?
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Format: Hardcover
(This review first appeared in the "Ephrata (Pa.) Review.")

Clements possesses the unsettling ability to throw readers smack dab into the rebellious chaos that is called middle school. In this story, readers are "caught" up in a sixth-grade chorus. The music teacher, upset that his job has been cut in a selective "reduction in work force" and angry with some students' antics, turns over the holiday concert's production to the students.

The class elects as its director popular Hart Evans, who dislikes chorus and who has already gotten into hot water with Mr. Meinert. As Hart learns how to manage his fractious peers, Mr. Meinert sees that allowing students to create their own unique production may be more important than musical perfection.

One strand of this lively story illuminates the relationship between freedom (democracy) and peace, the messy self-interested "lobbying" and eventual compromise that makes for peace-even in the sixth-grade classroom. After all, peace is the hope of the holiday season.
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A Kid's Review on January 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Meinert's job was about to end. He was the sixth grade chorus director. Hart Evans, a student, shot a rubber band at Mr. Meinert but he didn't mean to. All he was trying to do is get attention by shooting a rubber band to the ceiling. Hart thought chorus was boring. Mr. Meinert got fed up with bad behavior. He put the kids in charge of the upcoming concert. The concert was going to be a holiday concert. They had an election to see who would be in charge of the concert. The students could pick anybody in the room. Hart Evans was chosen. It was a rough start. There was a big variety of performance ideas to choose from. They had to vote again for what they were going to do for the concert. They finally picked. They did some pretty interesting performances!

My thoughts on the book: It is interesting and funny. I liked the characters. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Brittany, age 11, Raleigh, NC
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