Book Bites - an almost review of The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck

Other than my occasional Serendipity post, I'm not one of those bloggers to regularly have "feature" days.  Don't get me wrong, I like the whole Nonfiction Monday, Poetry Friday, Throwback Thursday idea, I just can't get myself to promise to a "day." Stuff happens. 

But for a long time, I have been disappointed that I haven't had time to write about certain titles. I will see them looking at me from the shelves and think, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I should have told more people about you." So... I'm going to try to mention some of my favorites more frequently.

Now, I don't expect to have time to do a proper review with an educational slant (my shtick), so I will label these posts "Book Bite" (I like alliteration). Just know, if I write a Book Bite about it, then it is one that has stayed with me for the ages.......

First up:

The Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck

Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: 10 & up
Pages: 224
Themes: Coming of age, Small town/Rural America life, Family life
Publisher: Puffin        
Date: 2006
Buy The Teacher's Funeral Here
Author's website is HERE

What it is about = Publisher's Blurb: If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of year for it," begins Richard Peck's latest novel, a book full of his signature wit and sass. Russell Culver is fifteen in 1904, and he's raring to leave his tiny Indiana farm town for the endless sky of the Dakotas. To him, school has been nothing but a chain holding him back from his dreams. Maybe now that his teacher has passed on, they'll shut the school down entirely and leave him free to roam.

No such luck. Russell has a particularly eventful season of schooling ahead of him, led by a teacher he never could have predicted-perhaps the only teacher equipped to control the likes of him: his sister Tansy. Despite stolen supplies, a privy fire, and more than any classroom's share of snakes, Tansy will manage to keep that school alive and maybe, just maybe, set her brother on a new, wiser course.

My thoughts: I grew up not more than a stone's throw from the setting in this novel so I might be a bit prejudiced. Let me tell you ... not much has changed in Parke County, Indiana since 1904. Farmers still butcher hogs, kids still camp by fishing holes, mud daubers still cling to corners of roof lines, and Indianapolis is still `the big city.' Mr. Peck has given the city slickers a rich view of rural Americana. You'll laugh out loud and shed a surprising tear at the ending where the question that's been burning in your mind finally gets answered with one simple word. Excellent writing, great story, fun and perfect for classroom read aloud from 3rd to 6th grade. 

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