The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts Book Poster Image

The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts



Funny, fascinating, and exquisite historical tale.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

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


A reference to growing breasts.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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."

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.

Families can talk 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
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dial Books
Publication date:October 20, 2004
Number of pages:190
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14

This review of The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts was written by

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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 turn of the 20th century as well as how kids and the education system behaved. I would recommend this to everyone and say that it is the perfect balance of humor, wittiness and education.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old May 5, 2010

Worst book I've ever read.

AWFUL. Honestly the worst book I've ever read. This isn't a comedy. Before anyone says 'oh well you're kid you hate anything that's "Humor" isn't loud, obnoxious, and crude'. No. I have read and enjoyed comedies well beyond books I should even know about, including Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There are literally no jokes. not even things that could be skewed as jokes. No dry wit. No sarcasm. Nothing even remotely funny is in this book.also, the main character, while also an unreliable narrator, is a compete dewsh (censors defeated!). At one point near the end of the book he even complains (and and this is almost word for word) that he's 'gonna have to make something of himself' rather than work at thresher in the Dakotas ( which one? who knows!?). The only character I find even remotely 3 dimensional is Tansy, if only because she has to deal with the main character (who if not for the occasional mention might as well not have a name.). Really, avoid this book, I doesn't do any honor to my home state nor the early 19 hundreds.
Teen, 15 years old Written byally78940 April 9, 2008

i hated it

i hated it. it used country language that i did not understand.


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