The furry orb would be hurtling towards me any second.
Concentrate, Steele,’ I told myself, tapping my bat on the concrete pitch.
It was day three of the before-school test match. The only thing higher than the other’s team’s score was the temperature.
Radley paused at the top of his run-up, squeezing the tennis ball between his grubby fingers. Sweat trickled down his angry face.
Weasel patrolled the outfield. He scurried in front of the cypress trees only pausing to give his little brother a mouthful. ‘Ferret, drop another catch and I’ll drop you!’
Steele Bucket and his mate Pete are back again for a new instalment of ‘Crazy Relief Teachers’. This time there’s a mystery and a trial and their new relief teacher Ms Law is determined to get to the truth. Pete, the accused is just as keen to prove his innocence as Brittany Baxter, Prosecutor and rival for the Annual Outback Creek Corn-Fest trophy, is to prove his guilt. For the duration, their classroom becomes a courtroom. Ms Law is the judge, and after a dismal attempt to defend himself, Pete allows Steele to conduct his defence. Grade 6B are the audience, the hecklers and the witnesses. The stakes are high, the classroom will not rest until justice is done, and seen to be done.
Crazy Relief Teachers: Ms Law and the Corn-fusing Case of the Broken Window is instalment two in this hilarious series from Matt Porter. There are jokes and puns aplenty, as Steele and his mate Pete navigate their way through the classroom legal system. Their new Crazy Relief Teacher (CRT) has a legal language all her own and there are plenty of others in the classroom happy to be swept up in the drama. Steele is resourceful and relentless in his defence of his friend. Pete is focussed, perhaps even obsessed with the Corn-Fest. Other characters, like Radley, Weasel and Brittany are delightfully caricatured, and will be recognisable to most upper primary students. ‘Crazy Relief Teachers 2’ is full of fun and an (only slightly?) exaggerated reality of the classroom. But as before, the CRT is only there temporarily. What will the next CRT be like? Look out for the third instalment in Crazy Relief Teachers. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.
Crazy Relief Teachers 2: Ms Law and the Corn-fusing Case of the Broken Window, Matt Porter
Celepene Press 2012 ISBN: 9780980699470
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
Available from good bookstores or online