Naked Bunyip Dancing

Overview

A humorous look at the way one quirky teacher brings out the best in each of his students. Steven Herrick delves into the murky waters of a middle-school classroom, complete with a nerdy vegetarian teacher, Mr. Carey. What a crazy class! And what a funny, unpredictable year—the year of Naked Bunyip Dancing—when the students find out who they are, what they're good at, and how to put on a fantastic show. The cast of characters includes Mr. Carey the Hairy, Billy the punk genius, J-man the rapper, Sophie the poet, ...

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Overview

A humorous look at the way one quirky teacher brings out the best in each of his students. Steven Herrick delves into the murky waters of a middle-school classroom, complete with a nerdy vegetarian teacher, Mr. Carey. What a crazy class! And what a funny, unpredictable year—the year of Naked Bunyip Dancing—when the students find out who they are, what they're good at, and how to put on a fantastic show. The cast of characters includes Mr. Carey the Hairy, Billy the punk genius, J-man the rapper, Sophie the poet, Ahmet the soccer star, Anna the yoga master, Peter the boy with the talking bottom, Emily the ballerina, and others, each with a special talent. Mr. Carey introduces strange, new activities—from belly dancing to poetry jams—and the class responds with a passion for learning. The night of the class concert will undoubtedly be one of the best nights of their lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A good choice for readers' theater and for creative-writing classes." --Booklist

"A must-read for any young adult who seriously participates in poetic writing or merely expresses an interest in it. Students in upper elementary through middle school are likely to enjoy this novel the most." --Library Media Connection

"Capture[s] the sweet earnestness and unassuming wit of sixth-graders as they experiment with their identities, experience the agony and ecstasy of first like-like, and test the limits of their hip vegetarian teacher's sense of humor." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

School Library Journal

Gr 4-6- Herrick follows one year in an Australian classroom with a nerdy, hippie, caring, and unconventional teacher. Told in multiple voices, including those of J-man the rapper, Jason the good kisser, Peter the boy with the talking bottom, and Emily the ballerina, the novel captures the humor and unpredictability of 11- and 12-year-olds. Mr. Carey fosters a sense of community in which all of his students are encouraged to find out who they are and what they're good at. The children suggest cocurricular activities (one kid jokingly offers naked bunyip dancing-but for bunyips only). Readers will need to look up "bunyip" to understand the humor and innocence of the title. The book culminates in the show that the class puts on for families and friends. The terse free verse, in short clear lines, is easily accessible. Funny, with some touches of poignancy, especially in one child's feelings about her parents' separation, this is a light, breezy glance at a sixth-grade classroom with a nurturing teacher. Educators will enjoy reading about the success of Mr. Carey's approach of valuing each student and letting the classmates have a voice in the direction their learning takes. References to pop stars give the book a contemporary feel, while some Australian terms may need deciphering. The childlike, black-and-white illustrations are reminiscent of the drawings of Shel Silverstein and complement the narrative.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME

Kirkus Reviews
Under the guidance of their teacher, the students of Class 6C experience Bob Dylan, yoga and belly dancing-but not, alas, naked bunyip dancing-over the course of one daffy year. Mr. Carey can handle anything, from Billy the punk and J-man the rapper to Emily the dancer and Sophie the poet, and he knows how to channel their diverse interests and talents into one blockbuster variety concert. Giving the students voice in a series of free-verse poems, Herrick presents readers with a happily chaotic classroom peopled by genuine individuals. Readers will get to know some kids better than others, however, resulting in an uneven understanding of the characters. Alex, for instance, comes to life as a kid whose wounds from his parents' separation are still raw, but Ahmet is cast as only a soccer nut. The class as a whole is the real protagonist here, though, united by love for their ponytailed teacher and a genuinely fond respect for one another. In this regard, it's just as staged as the kids' concert, but with just as pleasing a result. (Fiction/poetry. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590784990
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Herrick is an award-winning poet who has performed his poems in schools, cafes, colleges, and festivals all over the world. He lives in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney, Australia.

Beth Norling
has been a children's book illustrator and author for eighteen years, and her work has been recognized by the Australian chapter of the International Board of Books for Young People.

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