Monday, 12 August 2013

Review: 'Charlie Bumpers Vs. the Teacher of the Year' by Bill Harley

Charlie Bumpers Vs. the Teacher of the Year by Bill Harley, Illustrated by Adam Gustavson, 2013, Peachtree, $13.95, hardbound, 138 pages. Category/Genre: mainstream. Cover: terrific except it looks like his foot is backwards . . . Where we got it: publisher. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

Charlie Bumpers did a terrible thing to a teacher: he hit her in the head with his sneaker. It wasn't on purpose. But the teacher told the principal and threatened Charlie with no more recess for the rest of his life should she ever catch him throwing shoes in school again.

And now Charlie has that teacher for fourth grade. 

His mother is ecstatic because Mrs. Burke was the Teacher of the Year last year. Charlie's older brother, Matt, thinks it's funny (he knows about the sneaker). And no-one but Charlie's best friend, Tommy, seems to understand. 

Not only does Mrs. Burke hate Charlie, she's also a neat freak, and Charlie, well . . . isn't. He doesn't know how he'll last in Mrs. Burke's class for a whole year. And to make matters worse, Mrs. Burke assigns everyone's seats, and Charlie has to sit right in front of Miss Smarty Pants herself, Samantha Grunsky. 

There's a new kid in class, too, Hector from Chile, and no-one pays him any mind. Charlie feels bad for him, so he befriends Hector and tries his best to include him in group activities. 

Charlie also tries, really tries, to buckle down and make nice with Mrs. Burke. But things -- as they always seem to do when Charlie is involved -- keep going wrong. 

Kids will relate strongly to the well-meaning but trouble-bound Charlie. All the characters in this book are extremely realistic, and the pen-and-ink drawings will make kids stop reading for a moment just to admire the pages. There's plenty of humour, and everything that happens in this book is written in a way that makes you think it could actually happen. 

Written for ages seven to ten.

If you like this one, try: the upcoming Charlie Bumpers Vs. the Really Nice Gnome, by Bill Harley. 

You may also want to check out the author's blog at:

There's a trailer for 'Charlie Bumpers Vs. the Teacher of the Year' at:

And you can read a chapter and listen to the song Bill Harley wrote for the book here:

Don't forget to check out the other sites on the tour!
Gidget's Bookworms.

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