Review Blog

Feb 13 2019

Mr Bambuckle's Remarkables on the lookout by Tim Harris

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Ill. by James Hart. Penguin, 2018. ISBN: 9780143793144.
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Missing persons, Teachers, Camping. Tim Harris continues the humour, enjoyment and excitement in this fourth story of Mr Bambuckle and his wild class from room 12B. Mr Bambuckle's Remarkables on the lookout begins with a roll call that includes the students' names, likes, dislikes and introduces the Wu twins.
Imagine taking this class on camp! Mr Bambuckle's style of learning is more laid back, he values creativity and individuality whilst Assistant Principal Miss Frost is a stickler for discipline, rules and procedures. When Vex Vron who loves cars and dislikes everything else, disappears on the final day of camp, the two teachers approach the search in two totally different ways. The teachers decide to keep Vex's disappearance a secret, so the school and his parents don't know he's missing.
Creative fund-raising, taxi rides across town, following unicycle tracks, checking supermarket security footage, the pace picks up as the student detectives follow the clues. It's a creative dance, hiding their undercover activities from Mr Sternblast the principal. Magical batons, orchestra conducting, even a romantic story, this is a rollercoaster ride.
Standing out from the narrative are Harris's use of visual storytelling, phone messages, conversations with cranky canteen Carol, notes passed around the class and a list of 'dos' and 'don'ts'. Jokes, witticisms and snappy dialogue make this an amusing read. What stands out is Mr Bambuckle's unique style of teaching, his care of the students and his valuing of their strengths. This all adds up to an exciting junior novel just right for readers aged 9-12.
Rhyllis Bignell

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