Thursday, March 24, 2011

Because of Mr. Terupt Review

Book talk: There's a new 5th grade teacher at Snow Hill School.  Peter thinks that means he'll be able to get away with more.  Jessica is new to the school as well.  Luke is eager to show off during Mr. Terupt's new lessons, even if they seem a bit crazy.  Alexia thinks the new teacher is cool at first, but starts to hate him when he talks to her about her behavior.  Jeffrey doesn't care who his teacher is--school will awful no matter what.  Danielle loves the new teacher, even if her grandmother doesn't understand why.  Anna is nervous because Mr. Terupt actually calls on her instead of letting her stay invisible.  They all find out before long that this teacher and this school year are going to be different, but when class spins out of control all their lives are changed forever.

Rocks my socks: The story of a fresh-faced new teacher making a difference appeals to me for obvious reasons.  I also enjoy the way the story is told from the perspective of seven different kids in the class.  It's hard to have that many narrators without slipping into caricature but Buyea pulls it off pretty well.  I think it would be good for kids to read a book told from that many perspectives.  In addition to learning about how many sides an event can have, they can read the story based on an affinity with one character and then hear from other characters that they may never otherwise choose to read about.  Each character's story arc also has its own moral and I found them to be good life lessons.

Rocks in my socks:  In some ways I feel like this story is written for teachers more than kids, although eventually

*******SPOILER ALERT************


The teacher is horribly injured and falls into a coma and the book seems to imply that it's the teacher's fault because of his crazy new methods.  It's funny because at first it feels very much like everything a new teacher would want to hear about how by trying new things and experimenting you can really change kids lives and then suddenly he's in a coma and I couldn't help but think well if that's the result of progressive teaching count me out. I also found the fact that the teacher is portrayed as having absolutely no family or friends outside of school to visit him in the hospital an odd choice.  Kids already think we have no lives outside of school, we really don't need to encourage them in this.  Even the love interest is the teacher across the hall.  As long as we're in spoiler zone I'll throw in a complaint about how neatly the ending is tied up.  Happy endings are one thing but having eight separate stories (if you include Mr. Terupt) with every loose end not only tied but double-knotted is another.

********END SPOILER ALERT*********

Every book its reader: I'd give it to 4th grade and up looking for a school story.  A particularly good choice for winter break reading.

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Buy it at your local independent book store or check it out from your local library

1 comment:

  1. i LOVED this book i had to read it for school and im in 6th grade so it really is good for fourth grade and up...