To celebrate here is the first review of four books written by John David Anderson.
5th Grade and Up
Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The good ones. The not-so-good ones. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard. The ones you’ll never remember and the ones you want to forget. But Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like the indignity of school is worthwhile. Who makes the idea of growing up less terrifying, who you never want to disappoint.
Topher, Brand and Steve know this better than anyone. And so, when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she is very sick and won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a plan. Through the 3 different stories they tell, we begin to understand just what Ms. Bixby means to Topher, Brand and Steve.
This book took me back to my elementary school days. Those were the best school years for me (that’s not saying much since it was all downhill from there).
The boys in the book classified the teachers they’ve had into different groups. But they failed to include the worst kind of teacher ever: the ones who couldn’t control the class at all. I had three of these teachers in middle school (Math, Science, and English) and one in high school (Science). The kids in these classes just wouldn’t stop talking. This is something I never understood growing up and still don’t. Let me tell you about this one time in math class. There was always with one boy who kept misbehaving and the teacher would always have him sit in the back on a stool, all the kid was missing was a Dunce cap. One day, and I have no idea how this happened, the boy got his head stuck in the legs of the stool. I still regret not finding out how that happened.
I had only four really good teachers in my years of torture, I mean school: my 3rdgrade teacher, my 9thgrade art teacher, and my two private teachers at Exceptional Minds. I still remember this one day back in 3rdgrade. My teacher allowed us to switch seat while we were doing a certain project (I can’t remember what it was) and I was perfectly happy sitting in my own seat, but this one boy kept kicking me out of my seat, so he could sit next to his friend and I had to sit in his desk. One day I was finally sick of him bossing me around and I yelled at him, I still remember the shocked look on his face. The best part was my teacher backed me up. She told the boy ‘Don’t mess with George Washington!’ (Early in the year, we all had to do projects about the Presidents and I did George Washington.) This is still a big deal because she was one of the few teachers back then to ever stick up for me.
One of the best teachers I had in high school was my 9thgrade art teacher. In the beginning of class, she would hand out ‘How to Draw’ papers to all of us and we would draw that picture in our sketchbooks. I would always try to use the picture she gave us in a weird way and that always impressed her. I’m guessing I was the only one to ever do that. I kind of had my own way of drawing and she would always let me use my own way when we were doing projects. In my second year with her, I dropped out of her class. For some reason I don’t understand, I just couldn’t do the work. The art forms were too weird for me and something in my brain kept telling me no. I still feel really bad about this because she was so nice to me and taught me so much. If I were to talk to her again, I’d say, “Thank you for putting up with me and sorry I couldn’t do better.”
But the best teachers I’ve ever had are Hayz and Tawd, my private teachers at Exceptional Minds, a non-profit Animation & Visual Effect School & Studio for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum. These two give me more support than I feel I ever deserved and are constantly telling me that I’m a great writer and a great artist. If the two of you are reading this now, thank you for everything you’ve done for me and thanks you for putting up with me when I was having a hard time.
But enough about me, let’s get back to the book.
The quest the boys go on for their teacher is entertaining but at the same time ridiculous. They really didn’t think the whole thing through. Each boy has something they need to say to Ms. Bixby, but I’ll leave that for to you to find out. As you read, you’ll ask yourself why the boys are doing these specific things. Trust me, everything is explained in the end.
One important part of this story is that Ms. Bixby is diagnosed with cancer and that’s a very heavy subject for kids. I won’t go into detail about it because I want to keep this review positive but if you want to learn more about how to handle the subject, check out Season 13, Episode 5 of the show Arthur called The Great MacGrady.
Anyone who is reading this blog, feel free to comment below about your favorite teacher, how they changed your life or about something funny that happened to you at school.