Doing Time Online

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After he is involved in a prank that led to an elderly woman's injury, 12-year-old Mitchell must make amends by participating in a police program in which he chats online with a nursing home resident.

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.

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Overview

After he is involved in a prank that led to an elderly woman's injury, 12-year-old Mitchell must make amends by participating in a police program in which he chats online with a nursing home resident.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Mitchell called it a practical joke that backfired, but the police called it a prank and the punishment is to participate in the O.L.D. Friend program for juvenile offenders. Mitch comes to the police station every Tuesday and Thursday for a month to have a computer "chat" with a resident of the Maple Grove Nursing Home located in another part of the state. Mitch chats with Wootie who is old but not soft. Her feisty remarks and straight-shooting questions help to give Mitch the boost he needs, but he, in turn, helps Wootie with her troubles. It is a good, small story of an unlikely friendship between a twelve-year-old who is trying to make sense of making amends and an ailing woman who is trying to let go of her home to move into an assisted-living facility. The humor and the lack of sentimentality add to the appeal of the book. Secondary characters such as the single parent dad and the neighborhood bully are well developed. More and more children's books feature computer dialogue and here is a smart addition to that niche. 2002, Albert Whitman & Company,
— Jacki Vawter
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.
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756936129
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2004

    Good Read

    A wonderful story about a young kid just trying to get his life back in order. I gave this book 4 stars becuse it is humerous and deep-felt all at the same time. Witty and inteligent!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2004

    Great for read aloud and discussion

    In an era where the guilty party never wants to accept responsibility, Jan Siebold has created a believable character, an average kid, dealing with being in trouble and wanting to believe he isn't at fault. She mixes in the element of intergenerational realtionships, different perspectives and presto! instant discussion points for young adolescents. Perfect read aloud material.

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