Fifteen-year-old Russell is thrilled when the town’s school teacher dies. It’s August 1904 and if the school board can’t find a new teacher in a hurry, they will have to shut down the tiny Hominy Ridge School at last. Russell thinks that would be just fine.
But not only does the school board find a new teacher, the person they hire is none other than Russell’s older sister Tansy. No-nonsense Tansy is going to be his teacher. The worst thing of all, in his opinion, is that she plans on making them actually learn something this year.
Russell isn’t going to go down without a fight. If snakes, ghosts, or fire won’t scare Tansy away, he’ll find something that will.
Genre: historical fiction, humor
Anna’s take on it:
I enjoy booktalking this title for fifth and sixth graders. As soon as I say the title, students all around the room gasp. Then when I give them the subtitle — A Comedy in Three Parts — they cry out, “What?!” They often look over at their teacher…”Don’t die, Mr. !”
Usually I slow down at the line, “The person they hire is none other than…” and let the kids guess the answer. “His mom!” “His grandma?” And then when I say it’s his older sister, everyone groans. They can imagine what that might be like.
I haven’t seen kids racing to grab this book, but some are intrigued. It makes a nice contrast to many of the other historical fiction titles on my list that are about war eras.