The War with Mr. Wizzle

The War With Mr. Wizzle
Author Gordon Korman
Cover artist Rodrigo Moreno
Luis Borba
Photo-illustration by Yüksel Hassan
(2003 version)
Country Canada
Language English
Series Macdonald Hall Series
Genre Adventure
Publisher Scholastic Canada Ltd.
Publication date
1982, 2003
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 205 (Not including the preview at the end)
ISBN ISBN 0-439-96902-6
Preceded by Beware the Fish
Followed by The Zucchini Warriors

The War With Mr. Wizzle is the fourth installment in the Macdonald Hall Series. Like all the other books, this one was republished in 2003 with new cover art and title ("The Wizzle War"). However, because the book deals largely with technological advancements and talks about computers and software, it had to be rewritten and updated to match how abundant technology is today. For instance, in the 1982 version, the character Mr. Wizzle brings in a large machine-like computer called a Magnetronic 515, which according to Elmer is the most modern computer an institution like Macdonald Hall could have.[1][2] In the updated 2003 version, the abundance of computers in the school is present but the character Mr. Wizzle comes up with, instead of a new computer, a new software program (called “Wizzleware”) that he's determining to run everything.[3] The book was originally written in 1982 by Gordon Korman.


Macdonald Hall starts off the year in a fix due to a new dress code, and Bruno, Boots, and the rest of the ensemble soon find out that a new assistant, Walter C. Wizzle, is instituting the new functions. He institutes a dress code, a demerit system, schedules psychological tests for the students, and worst of all, calls the institute in danger of becoming 'a dinosaur' and starts installing a new software program called Wizzleware (that he wrote himself) to handle all office, school, and teaching functions. The school atmosphere becomes strict and restricted for everyone, including the teachers, staff, and Headmaster Sturgeon. The only person not standing for it is Bruno Walton, who starts up a committee against Wizzle and his functions, and with the gradual help of other students comes up of ways to remove Wizzle from the school. They write a Free Press newspaper, exchange his anticipated printer paper with toilet paper and napkins, and work at night in the gym building a large comic Wizzle balloon. With the help of genius Elmer Drimsdale and a device he created (along with a convincing presentation supporting the "fact" that Wizzle's guest cottage is along a fault line), they give Wizzle earthquakes at night.

But the problems aren't only at Macdonald Hall - across the road at Scrimmage's Finishing School for Young Ladies, Ms. Scrimmage hires a new assistant for herself, Ms. Peabody, who is from the Marines. She turns the school into an army camp with her strict physical training exercises and morning calisthenics.

Both schools have their share of problems and both have their own number of counter-attacks on the assistants. Eventually, Sturgeon, who loathes Wizzle himself, realizes what his students are doing and orders them to stop the harassment and disband the committee, even while he refuses Wizzle's advise to have Bruno expelled for his disrespectful behaviour (although the assistant is unaware of the true scope of the boy's resistance). However, Bruno and Cathy, from Scrimmage's, joining their forces as The Coalition, get the idea to marry the two assistants off. Through romantic talking and dinners they actually manage to get them married, and the two schools turn back to normal.

However, Sturgeon, although pleased at the departure of Wizzle, takes a firm hand at his students' flouting his prohibition of the resistance. He institutes a new school rule forbidding the formation of any student organizations without the approval and participation of the faculty and creates a new committee to order Bruno and his upper echelon comrades in The Committee to wash dishes for a few months as punishment.


Bruno Walton The protagonist of the novel. He starts up the committee, all the subcommittees, and then the coalition with Boots and Cathy from Scrimmage's to get rid of Wizzle and then both Wizzle and Peabody.

Boots O'Neal (Melvin O'Neal) Bruno's best friend who at first can't take Bruno's schemes anymore and leaves his committee in fear of getting in trouble (as with everyone else at the beginning).

Walter C. Wizzle The new educational assistant and the primary antagonist of the book. He comes to Macdonald Hall from university with many ideas to revolutionize the way the school works with his ideas, for the sake of progress. His goal is to modernize Macdonald Hall as the school of the future with his software program and rules based on his psychological research. As a result of his teaching methods the school atmosphere becomes tense and rigid due to his dress code and the teachers don't like him, including the Headmaster, Mr. Sturgeon, who has an intense dislike of the man. The students won't tolerate him as long as he's at the school.

William R. Sturgeon The headmaster of Macdonald Hall. He is a firm but kind headmaster who privately harbors admiration for his students. He dislikes Mr. Wizzle's methods and demeanor right from the beginning, but still punishes the boys for their activities against Wizzle, becoming the anti-hero of the book. He later at the end punishes the boys for their activities and has them wash dishes until April as punishment.

Miss Scrimmage The headmistress of the girls' school across the road. Very old-fashioned, she hires an assistant who goes on to take over the school as a more strict physical education facility

Gloria Peabody An ex-marine from Fort Constitution (a marine training camp) who becomes Ms. Scrimmage's assistant and the secondary antagonist of the novel. She enforces strenuous physical activities as punishments and has a very harsh personality. She enforces military-like activities like a march and war games.

Gavin Gunhold

The name G. Gavin Gunhold makes an appearance in this book as a fictitious student used as a ploy to befuddle Wizzle. Gunhold was a poet from A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag.[4] The name Gunhold has appeared in other works by Korman. On page 10, the character is called "C. Gavin Gunhold", but this is just a typo.


  1. ^ "Something Old, Nothing New: The Korman Invasion".  Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  2. ^ "Macdonald Hall: The War With Mr. Wizzle".  Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  3. ^ Gordon Korman. The Wizzle War. pp. 6–9. ISBN . 
  4. ^ "Poetry by Gavin Gunhold". Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
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