What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year is the first in a new series by Bill Harley. The story's narrated by Charlie, a fourth-grader who gets himself into frequent messes -- literal and figurative. This means Charlie's often on the wrong side of school rules, but he's a kind boy, and his heart's almost always in the right place. Kids may gasp or slap their foreheads -- or even learn a bit of silly behavior -- when Charlie makes mistakes, and they might share his fear of strict teachers and boys who give wedgies. Only a few coarse or insulting words ("shut up," "idiot," "bozo," "boogers") appear.
What's the story?
The first volume in Bill Harley's new middle-grade series, CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR, begins just before Charlie starts fourth grade with typical school-year preparations: room cleaning and shoe shopping. Charlie's messy closet gives readers their first glimpse of this good-hearted boy's less than stellar organizational skills. Then Charlie learns that his teacher's going to be Teacher of the Year winner Mrs. Burke, and he knows he's already on her bad side after what happened back in third grade. First-day jitters don't begin to describe how nervous Charlie is about getting through a year with a strict teacher who once threatened to keep him in for recess for the rest of his life.
Is it any good?
Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year is an engaging school story in which kids face kid-sized problems like strict teachers and playground disputes. Charlie's poor judgment often results in sitcom-type humor, but he's such a kindhearted kid -- in a believable way, not a too-sweet way -- that readers care about him and share his empathy for others. One aspect that rings slightly false is Charlie's age; his behavior, level of understanding, and adults' expectations for him seem more appropriate for a child of 10 rather than 8. However, it's still a funny, sweet, entertaining book that will teach kids the value of kindness and inclusiveness.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Charlie helps a new boy adjust to their school. What are some ways you can help a new student make friends?
The kids in Charlie's class draw book covers for their favorite books. What's your favorite book at the moment? Draw a picture that illustrates what happens in the book.
Do you think Charlie's parents are fair to him?
|Topics:||Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs|
|Publication date:||September 1, 2013|
|Number of pages:||160|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||7 - 10|
|Read aloud:||7 - 10|
|Read alone:||8 - 10|
|Available on:||Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback|