(If you have missed my review of book # 4, which was the 1st book I read, you can do that here.)
"Please, Sir!" starts where "VillageTeacher" left off, just after the summer holidays in 1981, and I enjoyed it just as much.
Again, the author manages to combine the (relatively) slow and peaceful pace of village life with the historic events and changes of the time. Rubik's cube was selling like there was no tomorrow, girls modelled their looks on Toyah Wilcox, a few daring young men began to wear black eyeliner, and the Falklands War was on the horizon.
In the previous book, the future of Jack and his fiancée Beth looks uncertain - and I must admit there were times when I really thought they would soon be going seperate ways, and I would have been happy for Jack. This part of the story is wrapped up now, but I won't tell you how.
Two recipes are part of the book, one is for bread and the other for bread pudding.
They both sound rather rustic, but probably well worth a try. These recipes do come as part of different chapters about lessons for the children at school. The bread is prepared by two brothers in their 80s, and the bread pudding by an elderly lady. Along with their recipes, these characters share part of their life stories with the staff and the children, and I can easily imagine that Jack Sheffield really knew these people (under different names, of course).
Seems like I find one little blunder in each book; last time, it was the "sparkling" pearls, and this time, I found a small inconsistency here:
Gentle rain was sweeping over from the Hambleton hills, but it was a quiet rain. Droplets caressed the bare branches of the avenue of horse-chestnut trees at the front of this lovely old school and I recalled the first time I had sat at my headteacher's desk.Then, a few pages further on and still on the same day, said bare branches of the same trees seem to have suddenly acquired new leaves and the weather has undergone a rapid change:
Bordering the front of the school was a row of tall horse-chestnut trees, heavy in leaf and spiky fruit, and I stood under the welcome shade and watched the village come to life.I guess I should not take too much notice of such detail, but it matters to me. Thankfully, throughout the book, everything else (all that matters to the story, anyway) seems to be right.
The book ends on a dramatic note that made me eager to start on the next one in the series: A car crash, and the reader does not know who the victim is, whether they have survived or how badly they are injured - all we get is this:
Jo replaced the receiver as if in a dream. "It was Dan," she said quietly. [...] "There's been an accident... water on the road... a lorry skidded... two cars are involved."Quite the cliffhanger, isn't it!
"Is anyone hurt?" asked Sally.
Jo took a deep breath, as if searching for the words, and stared at us for what seemed like an eternity. "Yes," she said simply. [...]
And in a heartbeat our lives had changed for ever.