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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
New Teacher (The)
by Dominique Demers
Age Range: 6-8
The new teacher Mademoiselle Charlotte is somewhat eccentric. She is definitely not like any of the other teachers' in the school. For a start, her outfit is distinctly odd: a hat which is large with a round top, an old-fashioned evening gown with bows and lace and big, clunky leather hiking shoes. Even stranger, Mademoiselle Charlotte talks to her 'pet' pebble called Gertrude. The children think she's 'bonkers' at first, but soon realise she makes school much more fun: whether its learning to measure the classroom walls with strings of cooked spaghetti, listening to fascinating stories about a gorilla or even taking the pupils on for a game of football, it's an unconventional education. The children love the new timetable with the first hours of the day set aside for 'compulsory stuff' such as French, maths and English and the final three hours and fifty eight minutes for the 'fun stuff'.
However, everything changes one day when fighting breaks out among the children and Mademoiselle Charlotte walks out of the school and disappears. Now the pupils have to come up with a way of enticing her back, especially as the head teacher Mr Cracpote is becoming increasingly concerned about her unorthodox methods of teaching!
Canadian author Dominique Demers is a former professor and journalist in her native Canada and is the successful author of over fifty books for children, young adults and adults. The New Teacher, translated from French by Sander Berg, is a zany tale with a touch of modern-day Mary Poppins – a teacher who is not what she seems and who is always ready to answer a call for help from a school in need of her services. Although her methods are unusual, the children benefit, particularly when it comes to good behaviour and respecting each other. The amusing pen-and-ink illustrations by Tony Ross capture the humour of the text beautifully.
This is a series that is likely to become popular with children who would all love to have a mad-cap teacher like Mademoiselle Charlotte.
The next title in the series is 'The Mysterious Librarian'.