I was approached by this author to provide an honest review in return for a free copy of the book.
Blurb: Rebecca Holden suspects that her third grade teacher, Miss Robinson, is a witch. The only problem is, she can’t exactly prove it. Perhaps all teachers give their students extra homework. But do they all disappear into magic portals? After finding out that her teacher has lied, Rebecca intends to prevent Miss Robinson from causing any more harm to the class. But will she succeed in time?
Title: The Wicked Third Grade Teacher
Author: Ally McCulloch
Genre: YA, Mystery
This book follows the main character, Rebecca, as she starts the third grade with a new teacher who is not all that she seems.
I really liked the idea of this story. Concocting stories about what kind of monster your teacher could be is something that we’ve all done at some point and it reminded me of the Goosebumps books that I used to read in school. There were some interesting points, for example, the teacher going through a disappearing door in the library that no one else could see, but I wanted it to be expanded more. I also appreciated that their was a strong female main character. Rebecca was a girl after my own heart – a bookworm with an imagination as big as could be. She took it upon herself to try and figure out what was going on with the teacher and to try and save her friends which is a positive depiction for young girls.
As for what I disliked, my main gripe was the pacing. Time seemed to fly with big jumps happening mid chapter, or paragraph with no warning or cause. I’d usually be ok with this if it meant that we were gearing up for a big event but it seemed that not much really happened. There were a lot of things that were left unexplained (the portal in the library and why Shelley actually became ill for one night, for example) which I would have liked to know more about. It left things feeling unfinished. Additionally, the ending really confused me. Without giving too much away, throughout the main bulk of the story the teacher doesn’t really do much (other than accuse the main character of being late) and then ultimately ends up doing something drastic. In response to that, the other teachers don’t appear to be concerned that only two members of the class are left which also detracted from the story for me. In short, I feel like the idea has potential but it really needs to be fleshed out and for more details to be added to help the story flow.
I’d also point out that this book definitely isn’t YA. It feels more middle grade to me and I think would be far too simplistic for an audience that’s any older.
Overall, for a debut, there’s potential in this story but I feel like it needs to be a lot longer so that more detail and plot advancement can be added so that it all flows better.
Recommend?: For a quick read
Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read anything similar? I’d love to know!