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Peck, Richard.
New York : Dial, 2004.
IL 5-8, RL 5.5
ISBN 0803727364

(3 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

"If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of the year for it."  So begins the story of fifteen-year-old Russell Culver who is looking forward to having the school shut down after the teacher dies.  All Russell can think about is quitting school and joining up with a wheat threshing crew to get out of this town.  There isn't much here in Indiana for a young boy in 1904.  Russell wants to go to the city and see all the wonders that modern technology brings.  But there is no such luck.  Russell's older sister Tansy is appointed the new teacher and so begins a year of privy fires, missing bells, and elocution lessons for this rag tag class at Hominy Ridge School.  If you liked Richard Peck's other novels set during this time, A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago, you are sure to enjoy the comical look at rural schools from the last century.

Booktalk #2

"If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of year for it," so is the philosophy of fifteen year old Russell who sees the fast approaching end of his summer.  The year is 1904 and Russell is raring to leave Indiana for the Dakotas.  School is only holding him back from experiencing his dreams.  Now with the death of the teacher, maybe his dreams can be fulfilled.  Surely it doesn't pay to hire a new teacher for six students, but Russell is all out of luck.  To his utter horror, the school board hires his extremely bossy older sister, Tansy, who has yet to even finish high school.  Despite stolen supplies, a privy fire, and more than any classroom's share of snakes, Tansy will manage to keep the school alive and maybe, just maybe, set her brother on a new, wiser course. (Misty Gosnell,, Teacher, Fountain Inn, South Carolina)

Booktalk #3

In August of 1904 in rural Indiana, Miss Myrt Arbuckle the teacher of the Hominy Ridge School, “hauled off and died”.   Well, that’s what fifteen-year-old Russell Culver said. To Russell school is a “jailhouse” holding him back from his dreams.  He’s hoping that late summer’s turn of events  will shut school down for good.    Yet a new teacher is quickly hired,  someone up to the challenge of handling Russell --  Russell’s sister Tansy.  It’s bound to be a busy school year with a privy fire, snakes in the classroom, and Friday Elocution.   Or in the words of student “Little Britches” ( page 152).
                “Adder in the desk drawer,
                 Aunt Fanny in the ditch;
                 Life here at Hominy Ridge
                 Sure is a –    “
Will Tansy be able to keep school in session and set her brother on a new course?  Read The Teacher’s Funeral and discover for yourself.  (New Hampshire Great Stone Face committee, 2005-2006)

SUBJECTS:     Education -- Fiction.
                          Teachers -- Fiction.
                          Country life -- Indiana -- Fiction.
                          Indiana -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction.
                          Humorous stories.
                          Historical fiction.


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