July 3rd, 2016 by Nancy
We all have our favorite teachers. Teachers who are kind and understanding, who make school and learning interesting. Sixth-grade students Topher, Steve, and Brand call these teachers the “Good Ones.” Ms. Bixby is one of the Good Ones. Unfortunately, sometimes even the Good Ones get sick.
In Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson, every chapter is narrated by Topher, Steve, or Brand. Because of this, it’s almost like getting three awesome — or, as Brand would describe it, frawsome (freaking awesome) — stories in one. Through the guys, we find out why Ms. Bixby has to leave school a month earlier than planned and missed her own good-bye party.
Topher, Steve, and Brand want to make sure they have a chance to say au revoir (but not good-bye) to Ms. Bixby, so they devise a plan: cut school for a day, pick up required supplies, and surprise Ms. Bixby. The already-complicated plan becomes uber-complicated thanks to unexpected encounters with tardy teachers, a bossy big sister, missed busses, a potential bank robber, a toilet bowl shark, and much more!
One of my favorite things about Ms. Bixby’s Last Day was that with each chapter, I got to know Topher, Steve, and Brand a little more. The trio seem like real friends who, if I met them, I could be friends with. Well, not ME — I’m an old fart way out of 6th grade. But if you’re close to 6th-grade age, you could probably be friends with these guys. They’re the quiet, nerdy group of guys who keep to themselves but you know they’re cool. You might even know kids in your school just like them, or relate to one of them: Topher, creative and adventurous; Brand, quick-thinking and bold; or Steve, analytical and kind.
Even though the premise of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day is sad, the book really made me happy! There are plenty of jokes, and getting into the minds of three 12-year-old boys can be quite entertaining. Every time I finished a chapter, I wanted to keep reading and find out more about Topher, Steve, and Brand’s one-day adventure.
(Obviously we here at Kidsmomo do not condone skipping school, but hey, I can’t tell three fictional characters what to do. I’m not their fictional parent.)
I haven’t read Sidekicked, Minions, or The Dungeoneers (Cybils Awards Finalist for Speculative Fiction) by John David Anderson, but they’re definitely on my to-read list now!
The tagline on the book cover for Ms. Bixby’s Last Day is: “Three kids. One teacher. A day they’ll never forget.” Which is funny because I think this is a book you’ll never forget!
Obviously this would be where Nancy would say who her favorite teacher was, but she’d never divulge deep secrets like that.