Rifles for Watie
October 5, 2016
Al Capone Does My Shirts
October 5, 2016


Quick Glance



This is the total number of incidents in this 233 page book.

*As personal standards vary, please see the breakdown to determine what matters to you.

Author: Louis Sachar
Key Words: Fiction, Teen, Newbery Medal, Humor

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Book Description:

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.


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Children's Bad Words

Mild Obscenities & Substitutions - 7 Incidents

duh, golly, stupid, stupidity, h*ll

Name Calling - 16 Incidents

No-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather (an affectionate/teasing nickname), Barf Bag (a boy's nickname), stupid, The Devil Woman

Religious Profanity - 5 Incidents

Gee, The Good Lord, my word, Oh my God, thank God

Religious & Supernatural - None

Violence - None

Romance Related - 10 Incidents

“Kate Barlow didn’t actually kiss Stanley’s great-grandfather. That would have been really cool, but she only kissed the men she killed.”

A boy has to remove his clothes in front of a guard to make sure he has no weapons.

Mentions how his great-grandfather fell in love with a girl and how the girl’s father wanted her married at 15. The father said the man who had the biggest pig could have her (comical; not mushy).

A man falls in love with a lady and they get married. When bad luck keeps striking, he tells her she should leave him but she says she won’t.

A boy thinks another boy got a letter from a girlfriend (it’s from his mom).

A woman teaches adult classes at night and there are a lot of young men in the class (because she’s very pretty). They “were a lot more interested in the teacher than they were in getting an education. But all they ever got was an education.”

“He took hold of both of her hands, and kissed her.”

A sheriff asks for a kiss but the woman won’t give him one. A few days later, she kills him and gives him the kiss he wanted.

“Yeah… I bet she looked great in a bathing suit, sitting in the boat while her boyfriend rowed.”

A man is “bare-chested, wearing only his pajama bottoms.”

Parent Takeaway

Even though he is innocent, a boy is sent to a correctional facility/summer camp where he must work out his "sentence." This is a humorous story, full of sarcasm; so nothing should be taken too seriously (even the "romance," bad attitudes, bullying, etc.).

Attitudes/Disobedience - 13 Incidents

“Stanley told the truth, but perhaps it would have been better if he had lied a little. He could have said he found the shoes in the street. No one believed they fell from the sky.”

A boy writes a letter to his mom about learning to water-ski and passing a swim test (when he’s done none of that). He doesn’t want her to worry.

A boy imagines a scenario where a bully is getting beat up and it eases “his own suffering” as he plays it over in his mind.

Again, a boy writes a letter to his mom about camp activities that he has not done so she won’t worry.

A boy asks another boy to teach him how to read. The boy says no. “His muscles and hands weren’t the only parts of his body that had toughened … His heart had hardened as well.”

Lying: A boy is crying in bed and when asked if he’s okay, says he’s fine.

A boy steals a sack of sunflower seeds. All the boys start eating them. But they get caught and an innocent boy takes the blame (on purpose).

A boy is bullying another boy. When the counselor sees, he tells the boy to “teach the bully a lesson.”

A boy is laughed at when he tries to spell a word.

A boy hits a counselor in the face with a shovel (as he does not want to dig holes anymore. He flees the correctional camp).

A boy was sent to the correctional camp for stealing cars, “you should see me when I’m around a car. The next thing I know, I’m behind the wheel.”

“When I was little, I didn’t even know it was stealing. I don’t remember when I found out. But we just took what we needed, never more…” (the family was poor and homeless).

Two boys lie about not being thirsty (trying to be more man than the other one).

Conversation Topics - 9 Incidents

A boy is teased in class for being overweight.

The family has a joke that whenever something goes wrong, they blame it on their no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather (who was cursed to be unlucky, though the family does not believe it and so make a joke of it).

It mentions a few times in the book that a man quit smoking.

A character has a tattoo.

References dancing.

A Negro man and a white woman fall in love and when the townspeople see them kiss, they start a riot and burn the school down. The Negro is killed and the woman, out of revenge, shoots the sheriff to death.

A man (the sheriff) is drunk, drinking whiskey.

A man lit a cigarette and when someone notices, he is questioned because he said he had quit. “Yeah, well, sometimes sunflower seeds just won’t cut it.”

Mentions champagne.

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