The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts Book Poster Image
Funny, fascinating, and exquisite historical tale.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

A fistfight between two teens, and a fairly graphic description of hog-butchering.


A reference to growing breasts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The boys try to smoke a buggy whip. A town drunk is mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Richard Peck is a master at packing even his lightest books with deeper meaning and thought-provoking ideas. Here they include the nature and purpose of education, transformation wrought by technology, the complexity of family relationships, the ways people judge and are judged, and, at the end, the ways in which "the child is father of the man."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJordan SoCool54 September 27, 2011


Well for starters, I had to read this for school. I grew up in Alabama (heart of Dixie), live in Pell City now and I absouletly love this book. Many people disl... Continue reading
Adult Written bylburnham September 11, 2011

Family Fun Reading

My little brother who is 13 years old had to read this book for school. At first, he did not like it, but once my mother and I started reading it, he really be... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byFerrari43023 April 29, 2013

Best Book Ever!

This is a GREAT book! This book is especially good because it is focused on a time period that is very unique. It is a great opportunity to learn about the tur... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byfatcat18 December 13, 2011

best book ever

my teacher read it to us and it was great

What's the story?

\"If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of year for it.\" So thinks Russell Culver, when his \"teacher, Miss Myrt Arbuckle, hauled off and died.\" With no teacher in his one-room schoolhouse, Russell thinks he's home free -- until his big sister, Tansy, takes the job. Unlike Miss Arbuckle, Tansy isn't hard of hearing or arthritic -- she can still whup plenty hard.

Hardheaded, no-nonsense, and determined to call her students to the \"trough of knowledge,\" teacher Tansy is Russell's worst nightmare, and he aims to head out for harvest in the Dakotas. Even accidentally setting fire to the boy's privy on the first day of school doesn't slow her down, nor does a series of pranks and mishaps that includes an exploding stove and a snake in her desk. But both Tansy and his father are smarter and wiser than Russell knows, and they have some definite ideas about his future.

Is it any good?

Almost uniquely among comic novelists for children, Peck appeals to the head and the heart, as well as the funny bone, all without pandering to his readers' baser instincts. THE TEACHER'S FUNERAL has all the elements we've come to expect from Richard Peck: wicked wit conveyed in crackling, razor-sharp prose; a setting in a time and place unfamiliar to most readers; a depth, complexity, and compassion rare in comic novels; wise elders; vivid characters who are determined individualists; and subtle underlying messages that make his books terrific for discussion groups.

Peck makes his readers laugh out loud while watching children solve their own problems, but he does it in exquisite prose, filled with fascinating period detail, and without the usual writer's tricks of getting rid of the adults or making them useless. Now there's a writer's trick more authors need to learn.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about education. Why is Russell so eager to pursue physically demanding work instead of an education?

Book details

  • Author: Richard Peck
  • Genre: Humor
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Dial Books
  • Publication date: October 20, 2004
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
  • Number of pages: 190
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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