The Wednesday Wars

by Gary Schmidt

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Why does Holling get threats from Danny when he eats a cream puff in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars?

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Holling does not actually eat a cream puff the day Danny Hupfer threatens him in Gary Schmidt's The Wednesday Wars. Instead, Danny, along with many of Holling's other classmates, threatens Holling because Danny incorrectly believes Holling ate a cream puff.

In "November," Mrs. Baker asks Danny to help her by carrying twelve trays of cream puffs from the school kitchen up to her classroom. Mrs. Bigio, the school cook, had just made the cream puffs, and Mrs. Baker was responsible for delivering them to Saint Adelbert's, where they would be served to the Wives of Vietnam Soldiers. She has Danny set each tray near the open window to keep them cool, so they won't "get soggy." Mrs. Baker has Danny running this errand all during his lunch recess. When the kids return to Mrs. Baker's homeroom class to see the cream puffs, they think they are for them and are very disappointed to learn they are not. When it is time for Holling's classmates to leave for either Temple Beth-El or Saint Adelbert's, Holling's classmates give him death threats should they find out he was offered a cream puff while they were out of class:

Danny Hupfer whispered, "If she gives you a cream puff after we leave, I'm going to kill you—" ("November").

Although Holling is offered a cream puff, he actually never eats it due to a mishap.

That Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Baker fills up Holling's independent time by asking him to clean the chalkboard erasers from all of the classrooms, 32 erasers in total. Holling does so outside by banging the erasers against the school building. The cloud of chalk starts wafting up towards the windows, most of which are closed, except for Mrs. Baker's. Too late, Holling realizes what is happening and rushes up to check on the cream puffs only to discover they are all now completely covered with a layer of chalk, which looks like an "extra-thick layer of powdered sugar." Holling doesn't point out the problem to Mrs. Baker, and, needless to say, the Wives of Vietnam Soldiers all choke on the cream puffs. When Mrs. Baker still insists he take his cream puff, Holling does so but stashes it in the Coat Room.

The next day, Holling's classmates believe he ate a cream puff because Mrs. Baker sarcastically mentions offering him "another cream puff" if he does one last chore. After his classmates misinterpret her sarcastic remark, they start demanding Holling bring them all cream puffs and give him daily death threats if he doesn't do so.

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