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13 August 2013

Review: Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year by Bill Harley

Shortly before school starts, Charlie Bumpers learns that he will have the strictest teacher in the whole school for fourth grade. It doesn't matter that she s been named Teacher of the Year. He is still afraid of her. Last year when he was horsing around in the hall, he accidentally hit her in the head with his sneaker (don t ask). How will he survive a year under a teacher who is just waiting for him to make another stupid mistake?
As a teacher, I get a kind of perverse pleasure from reading books that feature a teacher as one of the main antagonists---books like Miss Nelson is Missing, The Library Dragon, and Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year.  In fact, I find the ones where the student is against the teacher more fun than those where the teacher is the best friend.  It's fun for me to see my profession through a "child's eye", because I know (most of us) aren't the bad guys we're made out to be.

I really enjoyed the character of Charlie Bumpers.  While I've never been "teacher of the year", I've had several Charlies.  Really sweet, good kids that just don't have it all together.  I wish some parts had been fleshed out a little more, like other things Charlie was good at in school (besides running and math), and that his impulsivity and lack of organization hadn't been mentioned as much, but those were the two reasons he felt like Mrs. Burke wouldn't like him.

I also liked the addition of Hector, the new kid, who also happens to be ESL.  I know that the common misconception is that an ESL student doesn't any English at all, is from Mexico, or is kind of a trouble maker.  I like that Hector's family is educated, from Chile, seems to have a good heart, and could potentially be another Charlie.

Since Charlie is going into 4th grade, I'd recommend this book to students in that age range (3rd-5th grade).  It is an easier read, but not babyish.  I could see myself (or others) including this book on a unit on Realistic Fiction, Back to School, or to teach the different ways you learn about a character (through their words, their actions, how others treat them/treat others, etc).  Or, JUST FOR FUN!!!!!!!!

I'd like to thank Peachtree Publishers for sending me an advanced copy of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year to read and review.  Please check out their website, and the other blogs on tour!    

Other blogs on the tour:
Monday
 
Tuesday
 
Wednesday
 
Thursday
 Peachtree Publishers blog (post by Emily Rivet)
 
Friday

More fun stuff!
 
There is a trailer for the book here: http://www.billharley.com/charliebumpers1.htm
 
Here is a page with a special song written by Bill Harley about Charlie Bumperwww.charliebumpers.com
 
The second book, Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome, is coming Spring 2014
 

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