Friday 24 August 2018

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables Books 2 & 3

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables Fight Back by Tim Harris (Random House Australia) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9780143785873

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables Go Wild by Tim Harris (Random House Australia) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN9780143789024

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Such was the popularity of Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables, Random House Australia took the decision to continue publishing the series of an extraordinary teacher, Mr Bambuckle and his adventures with students of 12B. At the end of book one in the series, Mr Bambuckle (who rides a unicycle, performs magic and reads minds) has been booted out of Blue Valley School because his teaching methods are too unconventional for principal Mr Sternblast.

At the beginning of the Fight Back book, 12B’s new teacher is Miss Frost whose rules (such as ‘no speaking’ and ‘don’t be lazy’) are written on the board as the students enter the class room. ‘Discipline is the new order’ is her mantra. Contrast her with Mr Bambuckle who had ‘charmed the students with his surprising tricks and fantastical lessons.’ No wonder the students decide to revolt especially after Carrot Grigson gets a detention for complimenting Miss Frost on her bobby pin and the new teacher tears up Victoria Goldenhorn’s immaculate handwriting (to take her down a peg or two).

Even while Mr Bambuckle is absent, his magic continues with one student being able to control the weather (and Miss Frost who mysteriously disappears to Ecuador). It’s then that Mr Bambuckle re-enters as 12B’s teacher and the excitement he generated in book one continues.

As with all the books in the series, children in the class often relate stories and there is ample scope given over to interesting internal book design. Once again, for instance, Mr Bambuckle has a dialogue with nasty Canteen Carol (using speech balloons), and notes are passed in class, printed in children’s handwriting. James Hart illustrates numerous pages with black and white and grey wash cartoonish pictures.
In the last chapter of the book, Principal Sternblast makes an unexpected announcement when he introduces the new deputy principal, a familiar foe. Let the adventures begin in the next book about the remarkable Mr Bambuckle and his remarkable students!

In book three of the series, Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables Go Wild, the action of the book takes part in the outdoors as the charismatic teacher has taken his students on a camp. Unfortunately, they are joined by Miss Frost, now the deputy-principal of Blue Valley School, who is determined to find enough ammunition to lead once again to Mr Bambuckle’s dismissal.

As with the other two books in the series, there are short stories within, narrated by students, as well as dialogue (again with Canteen Carol and Mr Bambuckle), hand-written notes and illustrations. The final chapter is left so that the reader can expect another book in the series, but the ending is not a cliff-hanger as in the previous books.

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