My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great book. Set in Indiana in 1904, Russel's one-room school teacher dies at the beginning of the book, a teacher who no one really mourns. The book is all about the events in Russel's life surrounding and following his teacher's death.
This book is filled with quirky characters and schoolroom (and outside of schoolroom) shenanigans. I loved the relationship between Russel and his sister, Tansy. I think what I loved most of all was the quiet father. He doesn't receive a lot of focus in the book, and he doesn't talk much. But the book gives you the sense that he knows exactly what is going on with his children, and he's just letting things play out until he sees a need to step in.
Toward the end, I was laughing out loud as things spiraled along when you thought they couldn't get any worse. Overall, it had a sweet feel to it, and I really enjoyed it. This is my first Richard Peck book I have read. I think I'll have to check out some of his others.
Content: I don't think there's much of anything to worry about in this book. I guess there's some mild violence: a schoolyard brawl and a grouchy aunt who threatens to shoot anyone on her land. That's about it. I don't recall any foul language. I would read it to my own kids as soon as I thought they wouldn't get too spooked by some of the pranks pulled. Some of my older nephews might enjoy it (ages 10-13ish).
I also loved finding out that he wrote the book about his mother trying to become a teacher!
What have you read lately? Anything good?