Author: Andy Seed
Published: 21 July (hardback), paperback to follow in 2012
Find it at Amazon UK
The Blurb says:
My Verdict: an engaging summer read, especially, but not exclusively, for teachers.
Essentially a nostalgic read, this is perfect summer holiday fare. As a teacher, I had tremendous sympathy for Seed's tales of juggling new government edicts with the demands of the actual classroom, and enjoyed his depictions of parents' evenings, school trips and attempts to modernise the curriculum. He perfectly captures the clash between the old and new, in the rural community and in education more broadly, without being excessively sentimental and without a trace of cynicism. This is not at all a book that is specifically or exclusively for teachers, however, and the child characters will engage any reader, I've no doubt. The adult characters that populate Seed's version of the Dales are also rounded, quirky and entertaining characters who enrich the story immensely. As the blurb indicates, this is by no means only about Seed's classroom experiences, or the learning curve of the probationary teaching year, but deals with the whole deal of moving into a new area.
What I particularly appreciated about the book was its structure and organisation. It is exceptionally well-planned. Each chapter is titled by a child's name and includes an episode starring that child. Our knowledge of the children from Seed's first class therefore grows with each chapter, and he is careful only to include children who have already had 'their' chapter. This feat of planning ensures that although the book by necessity has a large cast of characters, we are never confused.
I enjoyed reading this and will look out for further books, as it is mentioned on Seed's website that this is the first in a series.
Review copy kindly provided by Headline. This my eleventh review for the British Books Challenge.