‘Attention!’ Mr Sergeant’s shiny black boots thudded on the lino. He marched in front of us, eyeballing every student.
‘Tuck that shirt in. Pull those socks up!’ His words shook the history projects hanging from the classroom roof.
It was nine o’clock Monday morning. If Mr Brown was teaching, our grade would have been playing Continuous Cricket. But Brownie had nicked off last term. So we weren’t playing cricket. Instead, all twenty-one of us were lined up across the back of our classroom at Outback Creek Primary School being yelled at by a madman. Mr Sergeant was the latest in a long line of Crazy Relief Teachers.
Steele Buckle and his friend Pete are reeling. The new relief teacher is crazy! He must be. Mr Sergeant dresses in military fatigues and uses phrases from army boot camp. Before the students know what’s going on, they are cosseting bricks and doing push-ups. It’s as if the school bullies weren’t enough and the fates have sent something/someone worse. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s approaching THAT time of year. The time of year normal Dads turn into monsters. The time of Annual Dodgeball game between Grade 6B and the Dads is approaching fast.
It’s tough to lose a teacher half way through a year. There you are at the end of primary school, looking forward to whatever comes next, and trying not to look back at all the familiar things behind you. Then your teacher leaves and you have to start all over again, when you’d thought that you’d done with starting afresh, at least for primary school. Mr Sergeant may seem to have emerged from one of Steele’s nightmares, but even nightmares can have positive elements to them. Mr Sergeant and the Dodgeballs of Doomstarts very quickly and then just speeds up, with the action exploding like a a volley of dodgeballs. This is a first book from teacher Matt Porter, but there is a suggestion here that there more may follow. Recommended for upper primary, particularly boys challenged by longer texts.
Mr Sergeant and the Dodgeballs of Doom, Matt Porter
Celeprene Press 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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