A male Mary Poppins of education, Mr. Bambuckle is every student’s dream teacher.
When their regular teacher, Miss Schlump, moves to Switzerland with a helicopter pilot, the students of room 12B are startled by their strange replacement teacher. Wearing a dazzling blue suit and balancing on his unicycle atop his desk, Mr. Bambuckle has a frypan full of breakfast and eccentric ideas about education. The students’ first assignment is to redesign the trite encouragement stickers Miss Schlump liked to use. After timid Evie narrates her frightening encounter with a possibly possessed washing machine and Mr. Bambuckle confronts cranky Cafeteria Carol with kindness, the 15 students get to come up with ideas for phone apps. Various students take turns narrating humorous episodes, with third-person chapters knitting them together. It’s all good, silly fun, but principal Mr. Sternblast wants to rid himself and the school of Bambuckle just when the kids are warming up to him. Originally published in Australia as Mr. Bambuckle’s Remarkables, Harris’ introductory tale of 12B is both funny and surprising. Published simultaneously with sequel Class 12B Fights Back (a good thing given the cliffhanger end), this will entertain young readers, who will easily find their traits among the students. Hart’s black-and-white spot and full-page illustrations are appropriately goofy, combining with naming convention to identify a few students of color. Mr. Bambuckle and the principal present white.
Should readily win fans. (Fiction. 7-11)