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Dear Teacher
Year 3 in the Teacher series

by Jack Sheffield


Here is the third installment of the "alternative school logbook" from a primary school in rural Yorkshire. The 1970s are drawing to a close, and everybody is watching Dallas, while Margaret Thatcher is settling into her new job as Prime Minister. Jack, the headmaster copes with a possible National Curriculum, trying to decide between two sisters, and keeping the school running smoothly.

If you live in the UK you will know that no Sunday evening is complete without a cozy series like this on TV; this is the book equivalent. It is a wonderful trip down memory lane to a more innocent time when a primary school like this with fewer than ninety pupils was more like a big family. The pub gets a TV, everybody is listening to Abba and Pot Noodles have just made their debut, along with personal stereos. There are some of the hilarious things that children say, and we get to find out what village characters like Tidy Tim, Ruby the caretaker, the local football team and more are up to. Listing this under autobiography might seem like stretching it a bit as surely not all of this actually happened quite as it appears, but you might be too busy being entertained to care. If you are a fan of writers like James Herriot and Nicholas Rhea this ought to appeal as it is well done, and has the right mix of comedy and nostalgia tinged with a spot of pathos.

The Book

Bantam Press (Transworld UK)
3 February 2009
0593061500 / 9780593061503
Fictionalized memoir [1979-80 Yorkshire, England]
More at US || UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2009
© 2009