Review Blog

Feb 04 2019

Mr Bambuckle's Remarkables on the lookout by Tim Harris

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Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143793144.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Silly it may be, but children are growing to love the sublime Mr Bambuckle series as much as their great grandparents loved Mary Poppins. The omniscient teacher is more lackadaisical than was the famous magical nanny. Incredible events are made less so by Mr Bambuckle's discovery learning style with the freedoms allowed resulting in student self-discovery.
By comparison, Ms Frost and Principal Sternblast (as their names suggest) are less progressive educators and insecure, thus their need for control. When Ms Frost delights that Mr Bambuckle has lost a student at camp and will be sacked, he points out that the responsibility lies with the highest ranking officer. Reluctantly, she agrees to grant the whole class three days to find Vex Vron, who has run away, before she reports it to the Principal.
Mr Bambuckle sends his students off in pairs to explore clues and report back several times a day. Steady progress is made in the investigation alongside concurrent plots involving the arrival of the new twins Gabby and Grace Wu and Myra Kumar's enterprising schemes to raise funds to finance the search for Vex.
Illustrator, James Hart, uses many genres to create interest and make the story less fantastic - character trading cards, letters, notes, text messages compliment the usual strategically placed illustrations. Author Tim Harris pays tribute to great teachers by having Vex's actions motivated by a desire to be exactly like Mr Bambuckle. While the Principal remains an anachronism, the transformation in the Deputy Principal's worldview is admirable. A thoroughly enjoyable school based adventure.
Deborah Robins

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