Written by Colin McNaughton
Illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura
(Anderson Press, 2004)
I post this book review in honor of World Teachers' Day which is October 5.
For many students—boys especially—school can seem humdrum, ho-hum, boring. In a word, ordinary. And so begins this tale. It's an ordinary day with an ordinary home routine and an ordinary trek to school. The boy (himself described as ordinary) settles into his ordinary classroom.
Then the extraordinary happens. A new teacher, Mister Gee, ambles in, carrying an old phonograph and some records. He plays "rumbling, rolling, thunderous music" and invites the children to make pictures in their heads of what they see. Is the man daft or could he be onto something?
While Billy Pearson falls asleep—a veritable dreamer—the other students, including the ordinary boy, use the music and their visualizations as newfound inspiration for the stories they write.
The illustrations begin as muted grays, with color only appearing after Mister Gee's entrance. The story itself reminds us that a dedicated teacher, with a tinge of quirkiness, can trigger children's imaginations and create the spark to make learning memorable. Indeed, the right teacher can make all the difference!