Wednesday 22 August 2018

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris (Random House Australia) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9780143785859

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Author Tim Harris first came to attention some years ago when he published two collections of humorous short stories which exploded onto the Australian scene and proved very popular. Now he’s being acclaimed for his latest very funny book series about a fantastical teacher who can read minds, make magic and totally draw class 12 B into his thrall. The reviewer of Sunday Telegraph wrote, ‘Mr Bambuckle is an extraordinary teacher, and this is an extraordinary book.’ Certainly, this first in a series of three books (so far) is fast-paced, full of fun and likely to become popular reading.

Bambuckle arrives at Blue Valley School, on his first lesson balancing on a unicycle on top of his desk, singing a rare Mongolian welcome song. His 15 students have never experienced an adult quite like him, and they are soon drawn into his stories and lessons. Which child wouldn’t want to design stamps for the teacher, or invent a drone or create an app? The new, fascinating teacher has the gift of making even the most nervous student feel proud of herself, as he does when he gets Evie Nightingale relates a story to the class about a washing machine from hell which proves the girl is indeed very brave.

In between episodes where Mr Bambuckle is interacting with his class, there are short stories narrated by students, black and white illustrations, pages of projects, streams of dialogue (between nasty Canteen Carol and Bambuckle who charms the woman everyone fears), and notes passed from student to student when the principal, Mr Sternblast, appears. Appalled by the new teacher’s teaching methods, it becomes the principal’s aim to rid the school of him.

This book is sure to create addictive readers who like to laugh aloud, who cheer for teachers who are extraordinary, and who hiss villains. Highly recommended for children aged 8 to 12 years.

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