Book: Ms. Bixby’s Last Day
Author: John David Anderson
Rating: 3 Stars
Basic Plot: When Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she’ll be leaving her class before the year is up, three of her students hatch a plan to give their teacher the last day she deserves.
1) Ms. Bixby seems like a great teacher. I would have loved to have had her. (Bonus: She’s reading The Hobbit to her class as a read-aloud! How cool is that?)
2) I love how we get glimpses throughout the story of how Ms. Bixby has influenced the boys, each separately and also together. Little by little, we see why the boys are willing to skip school to say their last good-byes. Or non-good-byes. Whatever.
3) The shifting viewpoints of each of the three works well. It’s a nice way to get to know each boy.
4) George Nelson is a good antagonist. Love how they deal with him.
5) I liked Eduardo, who bakes amazing cheesecake! I particularly like the whole interchange with the boys about why he calls his store Michelle’s 🙂
6) Of course, I love The Hobbit references. (Although, I feel bad that the rest of the class doesn’t get to hear Ms. Bixby read the final 20 pages!)
WHAT’S NOT COOL
1) The first line is “Rebecca Roudabush has cooties.” Fine. Actually, that’s a great opening to the book. If Rebecca is a major part of the plot. Sadly, she’s not. She’s basically only in the first chapter. (Oh, she shows up in the classroom flashbacks, but it’s nothing special.) I was waiting for her to join the three boys on their quest, but she doesn’t. I was slightly disappointed by this.
2) I didn’t like how the other sixth grade teacher, Mr. Mackelroy, was treated by the author. Okay, so he wasn’t as cool as Ms. Bixby, but did you have to make him so unlikeable?? As an adult, I felt this went too much into caricature. (And not in a good way.)
3) I don’t know HOW Ms. Bixby is able to leave the hospital to go on their picnic. She’s sick. She’s dying. While the picnic is very touching, realistically it wouldn’t be able to happen that way. Why didn’t they just have the picnic in her room?
My rating is 3 Stars (out of 5) – I liked this book quite a lot. It’s your standard students-inspired-by-a-cool-teacher trope, but I thought it had enough of a fresh story to be a good read.