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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 9 years, 4 months ago

16 January 2011 BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT by Rob Buyea, Delacorte, October 2010, 208p., ISBN: 978-0-385-73882-8; Libr. ISBN: 978-0-375-89615-6


"And Frank and Franny and Father and I would shout, in unison, 'State o' Maine!'  That dumb bear was named State 'o Maine, and my father bought him in the summer of 1939 -- together with a 1937 Indian motorcycle with a homemade sidecar -- for 200 dollars and the best clothes in his summer footlocker."-- from THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE


Having read several of his best-selling novels back in the late Seventies and early Eighties, I was curious why, for the first time in memory, I was seeing John Irving gushing in print about a children's book.  Not only did Mr. Irving write a foreword for BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT, but he is also quoted on the front cover of the dust jacket. 


It turned out that I became so engrossed in this tale, which is told from the point of view of seven Snow Hill School fifth-grade classmates over the course of the school year, that I forgot all about Mr. Irving...that is, until I was reminded of him by one little detail on page 181.


Actually, BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT is a book that has me recalling Elaine Konigsburg's and Andrew Clements's young characters and well-crafted stories, rather than any thirty (Dollar word.) year-old memories of John Irving novels.  


"I wish Mr. Terupt hadn't trusted us so much.  Maybe it was because he was a first-year teacher and didn't know better.  But I don't think that was it.  I think it was a case of Mr. Terupt being a special teacher."


BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT is an excellent (Dollar word.) read about the relationships that evolve between these seven young narrators who are at times at odds with one another.  Many of them have secrets and face challenges at home.  Each of them is greatly influenced by their very unusual and innovative first-year teacher, the guy who really believes in teaching responsibility, who really pays attention to his students, who really cares deeply about these students, and who teaches them (and me) about dollar words.


"'Mr. Terupt.' I raised my hand.  'What exactly is the Collaborative Classroom?'  Still being relatively new to the school, I didn't know."'It's where the retards go,' Peter said."


One of the many great things about this story -- and about Mr. Terupt -- is that he engineers his students getting to spend time interacting with the students in the Collaborative Classroom.  I loved meeting these special education students and discovering that one of them could understand something really important that Mr. Terupt's students didn't.


It was really great spending a school year in Vermont with Mr. Terupt (Dollar word.) 


Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/

FTC NOTICE: Richie receives free books from lots of publishers who hope he will Pick their books.  You can figure that any review was written after reading and dog-earring a free copy received.  Richie retains these review copies for his rereading pleasure and for use in his booktalks at schools and libraries.

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