cover image Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year

Bill Harley, illus. by Adam Gustavson. Peachtree, $13.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-56145-732-8

Charlie’s fourth-grade year is off to a rocky start. He’s dismayed to learn that his teacher is Mrs. Burke, whom he accidentally hit in the head with a shoe the year before (“I’m glad to see you’re wearing both of your shoes,” she quips on the first day of school). Charlie has the best intentions and the worst luck, a combination that tends to land him in trouble; the playground becomes littered with toilet paper after he uses a roll to create the finish line for a race, and his sneaker gets stuck on the roof after he throws it up there to retrieve a soccer ball. The swift-paced story is powered by peppy repartee between Charlie and the people in his life, as well as his droll internal monologue (including his repeated observation, “Trick question! No good answer!”). Charlie’s kindness to a new classmate from Chile and his growing appreciation of Mrs. Burke supplements the comedy. Dynamic and skillfully drafted ink-and-watercolor spot illustrations from Gustavson, who illustrated Harley’s Lost and Found, help chronicle the hijinks. Ages 7–10. Illustrator’s agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (Sept.)