Macdonald Hall

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Macdonald Hall is the name of a series of young adult novels by author Gordon Korman. The series was formerly named Bruno and Boots.

The series is set in a Canadian boarding school for boys called Macdonald Hall (named after John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada), located near the city of Toronto along Highway 48 and seven miles south of the fictitious town of Chutney.[1] The school's enrollment is around 700 students.[2]

The lead characters are Bruno Walton and Melvin "Boots" O'Neal, MacDonald Hall students who have a well earned reputation for mischief. For all their troublemaking, however, the pair have a deep loyalty to the school and many of the books have them and their friends going to great lengths to support it. It is unknown how old they are, but it is safe to assume they are around 13 or 14.[citation needed]

The school's headmaster is William R. Sturgeon, also known as "The Fish" by the students. This unwanted nickname comes not only from his name, but also from his bespectacled fish-like appearance when he glares disapprovingly at his students. While he is a firm disciplinarian with a carefully cultivated authoritative image, he also cares deeply for his school and the children under his care. His wife cares just as much for the students, and whenever Bruno and Boots come by, she offers them cookies and milk. She isn't as strict as her husband.

Across the street is another school, Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies. However, despite the obtuse headmistress's best efforts, the girls there are even more rambunctious than the boys of Macdonald Hall, and are always ready for whatever fun that Bruno and Boots have in mind. Miss Scrimmage happens to own a shotgun which she uses to threaten anyone who disturbs the peace or comes by her school, but she has poor control of it and is prone to accidental shootings in random directions.

At times, the two schools have joined forces, such as in The War with Mr. Wizzle, wherein Mr. Sturgeon gains a new assistant principal, Mr. Wizzle, who is a firm believer in categorizing and "computerizing" MacDonald Hall. Meanwhile, Miss Scrimmage hires a former drill instructor as her assistant; afterward, the two student bodies team up to send the new staff "as far as they can afford to send them" before the school board decides that keeping them at the school is a good idea.

Books in the series[edit]

The first book in the series was written when Korman was in Grade Seven. The briefest of the series, the book introduces the school and its boys. Bruno and Boots are separated as roommates after committing three pranks at the hockey match against their arch-rival, York Academy; Bruno moves in with Elmer Drimsdale, the school genius, whereas Boots moves in with the school financial genius and resident hypochondriac, George Wexford-Smyth III. The boys scheme to convince Mr. Sturgeon ("The Fish"), the headmaster, to allow them to move back to Room 306.

York Academy has a pool; Macdonald Hall does not. While annoying, this has never bothered the Macdonald Hall students much...until some of the boys report that their parents believe that the richer sports opportunities available at York will prompt them to transfer their sons to Macdonald Hall's biggest rival. The boys scheme to get a pool...a better pool than York Academy.

Macdonald Hall is closing! Their school is in jeopardy and the best way to save it, according to Bruno, is to get the word out about how great their school is. Bruno leads a scheme to get the name of Macdonald Hall known all over Canada. To blow off steam, Bruno starts playing with one of Elmer Drimsdale's inventions and starts a police investigation into the activities of the operative known as "The Fish."

Macdonald Hall is inefficient. Miss Scrimmage's school is out-of-shape. Enter Walter C. Wizzle and his computer to improve the Hall, and Miss Peabody, the new girls' physical education coach. The schools team up to get rid of Wizzle and Peabody.

Hank Carson, a millionaire former football player, now makes his money in the zucchini stick business. A former student at Macdonald Hall, he wants a winning football team at his alma mater, so the boys try to make him happy by "eating" his horrible zucchini sticks and making the best plays possible. In order to succeed, the pair scheme to create the zucchini disposal squad and disguise their quarterback, who comes from Miss Scrimmage's!

Jordie Jones, a superstar Hollywood actor, is shooting a movie at Macdonald Hall, and also wants to spend some time with the boys to get a feel for life in the school. Unfortunately, Bruno hates him. And if Bruno doesn't like someone, Bruno will scheme to get rid of him!

  • Something Fishy At Macdonald Hall (1995, recently renamed The Joke's On Us)

Boots' little brother, Edward, has arrived to start his first year at Macdonald Hall. Bruno can't wait to teach him all he knows, but there is such a thing as going "too far," and generally Bruno and Boots do a good job of keeping their pranks funny, and backing off when prudent. They pride themselves on being totally honest with the headmaster. But someone is pranking at the hall, and he isn't stopping! Bruno and Boots have to clear their name or they risk expulsion!

Characters in the series[edit]

Macdonald Hall students[edit]

Bruno Walton - Full of schemes, he is the one who spearheads the organization of the plots. Like Boots, he is honest, and if asked by the headmaster about his participation in a given scheme, will admit to what he has done. He was not a Jordie Jones fan.[3]

Melvin "Boots" O'Neal - A studious brown-haired boy who enjoys swimming[4] He has a younger brother, Edward.[5]

Mark Davies - The school newspaper editor. He lives in Dormitory 2.[6]

Elmer Drimsdale - The school's genius. He has various projects which threaten to take over his room including: ants,[7] plants.[8] He wakes up at 6:00 a.m. each day to tend to these various projects before breakfast.[9] He lives in Dormitory 2.[10]

Calvin Fitzgart - He is a braggart who claims to be skilled at many things but it appears to be questionable. Nicknamed himself "The Beast" to improve his football image, he uprooted a small shrub to show what he would do to the other team.[11] He tried to get pulled out of a game due to what the nurse pronounced "a bruise," however, so his actual football skill is questionable.[12] In Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood, he also claims to be skilled at camping, while proving otherwise.

Wilbur Hackenschleimer - A large boy who is known for having a voracious appetite. He is an amateur weightlifter, and is talented at woodworking and metal shop.[13] He lives in Dormitory 1.[14]

Pete Anderson - A student who gets relatively low grades and constantly worries about failing in school.

Perry Elbert - A student living in Dormitory 2 who dislikes Bruno's schemes.

Sydney Rampulsky - He is well known for his clumsiness.

Chris Talbot - He lives in Dormitory 1 and is also known for his art and makes posters to advertise Bruno's schemes.[15]

George Wexford-Smythe III - A financial genius who is obsessed with the stock market,[16] he also keeps his bathroom stocked with medicines.[17] He also sanitizes his room every second day, washing everything in his room, including the ceiling and the walls, to prevent illness.[18] He lives in Dormitory 1.[19]

Larry Wilson - He works in the office, and delivers messages.

Edward O'Neal - The younger brother of Boots who became enrolled to Macdonald Hall in Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall. He is a very mischievous prankster who almost gets Bruno and Boots expelled when his pranks result in everyone suspecting them as the prime suspects.

Macdonald Hall staff[edit]

William Sturgeon aka "The Fish - The Headmaster. He and his wife live on the school grounds in their own home. His nickname comes from the cold, fishy stare, he can use on his students.[20]

Mildred Sturgeon - The headmaster's wife who frequently reminds him to be less strict.

Mr. Alex (Coach) Flynn - The physical education teacher and coach, and the housemaster in charge on Dormitory 2. He is also in charge of the guidance department, which was eliminated during Mr. Wizzle's tenure at Macdonald Hall.

Mr. Dave Fudge - The housemaster in charge of Dormitory 3. He is also in charge of the guidance department, which was eliminated during Mr. Wizzle's tenure at Macdonald Hall. He is also known for sleeping soundly.

Mr. Lautrec - The industrial arts teacher.

James (Jim) R. Snow - The chairman of the Board of Directors of Macdonald Hall.

Mr. Stratton - The math teacher at Macdonald Hall.

Mr. Walter C. Wizzle - A modernization expert sent, with his computer, to improve the school's efficiency in "The War With Mr. Wizzle."

Mrs. Davis - The school secretary.

Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies[edit]

Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies is a girls-only private school located across from Macdonald Hall. Miss Scrimmage is the Headmistress. The students of Miss Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies have a well-deserved reputation as hooligans, despite the Headmistress' fervent belief that she is grooming proper young ladies. The school is ranked at 217th place, well behind Macdonald Hall's 1st place.

Miss Scrimmage - The headmistress. She owns a shotgun to protect her young ladies, and fires it in the air whenever the school is being 'invaded' by the Macdonald Hall boys. Her school was ranked as 217th, in contrast to Macdonald Hall's number one spot.[21]

Cathy Burton - The Bruno-equivalent, Cathy is good at football and can even play quarterback, though she is mischievous, just like Bruno, such as when she played under Elmer's name so she could join the team at Macdonald Hall.[22] She has dark hair.

Diane Grant - The Boots-equivalent, Diane has blonde hair, and is more timid about Cathy's schemes. She has a pet skunk called Petunia.[23]

Miss Gloria Peabody - Miss Scrimmage's assistant headmistress during "The War With Mr. Wizzle." She previously worked at a Marine training center in Seattle, WA.[24]

Other recurring characters[edit]

Mr. Hartley—The Headmaster at York Academy, the rival school to Macdonald Hall

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Korman, Gordon (1986). "Room 13". Beware the Fish!. Macdonald Hall. Scholastic. p. 48. ISBN 0-590-40354-0. 
  2. ^ Korman, Gordon (2004). The Zucchini Warriors. Markham, Ont.: Scholastic Canada. p. 4. ISBN 0439967120. 
  3. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood." New York: Scholastic, 1991. p.6
  4. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.1
  5. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall." New York: Scholastic, 1995. p.3
  6. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.12
  7. ^ Korman, Gordon. This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall. New York: Scholastic, 1978. p. 16
  8. ^ Korman, Gordon. This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall. New York: Scholastic, 1978. p. 27
  9. ^ Korman, Gordon. This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall. New York: Scholastic, 1978. p. 26
  10. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.12
  11. ^ Korman, Gordon. "The Zucchini Warriors." New York: Scholastic, 1988. p.67 ISBN 0-590-41335-X
  12. ^ Korman, Gordon. "The Zucchini Warriors." New York: Scholastic, 1988. p.77 ISBN 0-590-41335-X
  13. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.12
  14. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.12
  15. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.12
  16. ^ Korman, Gordon. This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall. New York: Scholastic, 1978. p. 18
  17. ^ Korman, Gordon. This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall. New York: Scholastic, 1978. p. 19
  18. ^ Korman, Gordon. This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall. New York: Scholastic, 1978. p. 33
  19. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.12
  20. ^ Korman, Gordon. "Go Jump in the Pool." New York: Scholastic, 1979. p.7
  21. ^ Korman, Gordon. "The Zucchini Warriors." New York: Scholastic, 1988. p.37 ISBN 0-590-41335-X
  22. ^ Korman, Gordon. "The Zucchini Warriors." New York: Scholastic, 1988. p.55 ISBN 0-590-41335-X
  23. ^ Korman, Gordon. "This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall." New York: Scholastic, 1978. p.46-47
  24. ^ Korman, Gordon. "The War With Mr. Wizzle." New York: Scholastic, 1982. p.35