You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Sunday, July 31, 2011


The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 2 (Drifting Classroom)The Drifting Classroom, Vol. 2 by Kazuo Umezu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Things are getting worse for the children of Yamoto Elementary School. Not only has their school vanished into a sandy wasteland, but they must now contend with a power-mad cafeteria worker with visions of controlling the school by controlling the food supply. He is not above clubbing, stabbing, shooting, or incinerating students and faculty. While the students discover that the school has moved forward in time, one of their teachers begins a methodical murder campaign. A trip into the wastelands with the murderer ends with Sho and his friend discovering the buried city of Tokyo, and Sho makes a psychic connection with his mother still alive in the past.

Umezu's work is a distillation of everything that would frighten a child -- separation from parents, insane adults, no lunch --  without any of the sweetening that would go into the American version of such a story. In fact the kids are dropping like flies. Perhaps Umezu is trying to work his way down to a more reasonable quantity of characters for the eleven-book series.

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