This is the fifth book in the series and the unicycle riding, breakfast-loving Mr Bambuckle with his jacket-full-of-surprises is back doing what he does best…teaching - although not necessarily the things that grumpy principal Mr Sternblast wants him to be - and empowering children.
With the recent closure of the Blue Valley Grammar private school, four extraordinary new learners have joined class 12B and Mr Bambuckle is thrilled. Despite some initial nerves, he soon has the newcomers under his spell. But all is not well at the school and Principal Sternblast is up to no good with a secret project that could see most of 12B looking for a new school. If 12B want to save their school, their class and their teacher they need to hatch a plan or school as they know it will be no more…
Tim Harris, a former primary school teacher, delivers his trademark blend of school shenanigans and valuable messages in another relatable and amusing read. Mr Bambuckle and his class of remarkables are a most eclectic and entertaining cast of characters and this time they face their biggest challenge yet when their school faces the prospect of being turned into an exclusive school for the chosen few.
Rather than set about saving the school himself, Mr Bambuckle - the teacher everyone wants to have, and quite possibly needs at some point in their schooling - subtly empowers and encourages the children in his care to take action. The effervescent teacher is the master of a well-timed comment and it is all the children need to use their initiative and take responsibility for saving their school. Prioritising self-confidence, learning self-worth and resilience he brings the best out of children who use their individual skills to take on something much bigger than themselves.
The main narrative is interspersed with four separate stories in which various children share their own stories often involving meaningful moments and life lessons. The whole thing basks in fun and silliness with punchy writing, lively illustrations and plenty of quirky inclusions like a guide of dos and don’ts when writing a love letter, a chapter entitled ‘Totes Notes’ that is essentially an old-school style note past back-and-forth between classmates, twenty-one ridiculous uses for a cardboard box, Mr Sternblast’s emails, an online chat and a very amusing and rather confusing conversation with Canteen Carol, the ferocious school lunch lady. School has never been so much fun!
With huge thanks to Penguin Random House for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 7+.