cover image The Unteachables

The Unteachables

Gordon Korman. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (280p) ISBN 978-0-06-256388-0

Mr. Kermit was once among the best teachers at Greenwich Middle School, but a cheating scandal 25 years ago dampened his passion for the job, and now he is biding time until his early retirement. After the superintendent assigns him to the “Self-Contained Special Eighth-Grade Class”—widely called “the Unteachables”—he resigns himself to getting through the year, transferring his coffee and crossword habit to the new room, and ignoring his new students. The small class is known for being troublesome: Parker can’t make sense of letters, tough Elaine terrifies the others, Rahim sleeps all the time, and Kiana ends up in the class when her stepmother fails to register her for school. After Mr. Kermit’s former fiancée’s daughter turns out to be the new teacher next door and meddles with disciplining the bunch, Mr. Kermit stands up for the kids, and both students and teacher realize the value of their abilities. Chapters rotate narration between students and administrators, giving varied perspectives to this humorous classroom underdog story that champions teamwork, kindness, and hidden sparks. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown Ltd. [em](Jan.) [/em]