Sunday 13 January 2019

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables: On the Lookout

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables: On the Lookout by Tim Harris, illustrated by James Hart (PenguinRandom House) PP RRP $14.99 ISBN9780143793144

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is the fourth book in Australia Harris’ book series about Australia’s favourite literary teacher, Mr Bambuckle who oversees students of room 12 B. The book begins with a roll call of those 14 students, which includes their names, pictures of them and their likes and dislikes. One of the students is Vex Vron who likes cars and dislikes almost everything apart from cars.

The story begins at camp which has Mr Bambuckle and the stern assistant principal Miss Frost, both very different. Mr Bambuckle values learning, individuality and fun while Miss Frost is far more concerned with discipline, procedures and efficiency. Student Vex has left a note to indicate he is running away so the hunt is on to find him before his parents and school realise he is missing. This involves everyone, including new twin sisters, Grace and Gabby Wu.

As in the previous books in this series, Harris makes use of visual page ‘tricks’ such as phone calls, conversations (with cranky canteen Carol), notes (passed from students to one another) and ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. The book, also like the others, is full of witty asides, jokes and sparkling dialogue. Sentences are generally short and there are snappy, fast-paced actions that lead to a happy conclusion. All of these devices make this book another to be enjoyed by readers aged 9 to 12 years.

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