5th Grade and Up
Oliver Zahn, spitball champion and self-declared rule-wrecker of Brightling Middle School, is not a fan of his new homeroom teacher, Mr. Aidact. The guy is sort of stiff, never cracks a smile, and refers to them as “pupils.” The worst part is he catches Oliver before he can pull any of his signature pranks! It’s time for Oliver and his best friend, Nathan, to show the new teacher who’s boss.
But as the weeks go by, they start to realize that Mr. Aidact is not what they expected. He has an uncanny ability to remember song lyrics or trivia. When the girls’ field hockey team needs a new coach, he suddenly becomes an expert. He never complains when other teachers unload work on him, even when it’s lunchroom duty and overseeing detention. Against all odds, Mr. Aidact starts to become the most popular teacher at Brightling.
Still, Oliver and Nathan know that something is fishy. They’re determined to get to the bottom of the mystery: What’s the deal with Mr. Aidact?
I went into this book with no expectations. It is now my favorite Gordon Korman book. I got such a book high from this story. A ‘book high’ is when a book is so fantastic it warms your soul, and you can’t stop talking about it. Everything came together so perfectly. I could see it play out like a movie inside my head. It was beautiful.
It’s a hit or miss when it comes to stories told from multiple points of view. In some books, it doesn’t feel necessary, or it makes it confusing. But in this story’s case, it benefits from being told from different perspectives. I admire Gordon Korman’s ability to create characters with distinct personalities and write from their unique perspectives.
It was heartwarming to see Mr. Aidact connect with so many different students. Even the kid who dislikes everyone liked him. Mr. Aidact shows what makes someone a good teacher. Someone who doesn’t give up on their students, who will stand up for them and listen to them.
A fun and lighthearted quick-read that I recommend to fans of Short Circuit and School of Rock, the movie and the musical.