Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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*****= An all-time favorite
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****Up and Down in the Dales

by Gervase Phinn

Reviewed August 27, 2005.
Penguin Books, New York, 2005.  341 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#5, Biography)

Here’s the fourth book in Gervase Phinn’s hilarious series about his experiences as a School Inspector in the Yorkshire Dales.

The highlights of all the books are the remarkable things said by the children.  However, the books are also populated by now familiar colorful characters:  The icy Mrs. Savage, personal assistant to the Chief Education Officer; the constantly bickering co-workers Sidney and David; and the colorful (wearing a bright pink overall) Connie the cleaning lady, who never quite uses the word she means to use.

In this book, there’s a more serious note right at the start, when Mr. Phinn gives a negative report, and a teacher quits.  The little school in their own village is threatened with closing and his wife gets on the committee to save it.  He accidentally demolishes an old Quaker meeting house on his property.  But all of those stories are resolved with happiness and humor, and the book wraps up with the birth of his firstborn—on opening night of a performance of The Sound of Music, to which he has been roped into making an appearance.

These books are excellent reading for cheering you up.  I like to read a chapter at breakfast and start the day with a laugh.

Reviews of other books by Gervase Phinn:
The Other Side of the Dale
Over Hill and Dale
Head Over Heels in the Dales

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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