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Silent Night Paperback – 5 Dec 2013

149 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (5 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593069714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593069714
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.4 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jack Sheffield was born in 1945 and grew up in the tough environment of Gipton Estate, in North East Leeds. After a job as a 'pitch boy', repairing roofs, he became a Corona Pop Man before going to St John's College, York, and training to be a teacher. In the late 70s and 80s, he was a headteacher of two schools in North Yorkshire before becoming Senior Lecturer in primary education at Bretton Hall near Wakefield. It was at this time he began to record his many amusing stories of village life. He lives in York and Hampshire.

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Product Description


"More amusing adventures for the characters at the North Yorkshire village school." (Choice) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

More funny and heartwarming adventures for the North Yorkshire village school and its eccentric occupants.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Broadhurst VINE VOICE on 27 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the eighth book in the popular series written by Jack Sheffield. Set in a village school in Ragley on the Forest, the head teacher, Mr Sheffield, is set for a new school year at Ragley School while his wife, Beth sets her sights on a new challenge for either herself or Jack at a larger school.

I usually look forward to the next installment at Ragley school each January, however this year it came out a month earlier, and I eagerly devoured it. As usual, Sheffield's writing is fantastic, as he writes his 'alternative school logbook'. Although the logbook is for the school, villagers are always popping in and out of storylines and I enjoy past characters popping in, catching up on gossip and going about their daily lives. And as ever, although this book is fiction, it is a great account of social history as Sheffield ensures the villagers of Ragley celebrate current trends and react to news stories from 1984.

There is a double wedding this year - the two binmen; Big Dave Robinson and Little Malcolm Robinson both marry and Ruby, the school's caretaker, has a bench to remember her husband, Ron Smith, installed on the village green. There is an Elvis competition in the village hall and a Belly Dancing for Beginners class is held in the Coffee Shop for Ragley's Ladies.

As ever there is a busy life within Ragley and I love revisiting the village each year. The books can easily be read as standalone stories however I really enjoy it as a series. They are easy to loose yourself in one Sunday afternoon, where characters become old friends. Sheffield has done lots of research for these books, each one a record of a life not only in Ragley, but the highlights of British history, social trends and news stories of the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sally on 4 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I personally recommend all Jack Sheffield's books about Ragley-on-the-Forest School, where Jack is in his 8th year as headmaster in this latest book which I have just finished. By the time you have read just the first few pages, you feel as though you belong there, in that school in Yorkshire, and that you personally know all the staff and pupils! There is always a good storyline running through all Jack's books, alongside all the day-to-day activities which are full of interest and fun. The period we have now reached is 1985 and, throughout each year, there are interesting historical facts included in all the books, from the political situation at the time, to sherbert lemons (could we ever forget them?), to Gestetner printing machines, to the pop music of the day and more! Jack Sheffield always writes in an anecdotal way through a diary of events that take you through each school year, yet there is always an element of surprise, or shock, thrown in. I can't wait for his next book; I am lost without them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sue on 22 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is the eighth in the series about the fictionalised author, who works as Head in a small primary school in Yorkshire. Despite the title and front cover implying a Christmas book, this is set in the entire school year starting September 1984. It’s not so much a novel as a series of incidents, most of them involving either children in the school or adults in the village. I found myself a bit bewildered at times with such a huge cast of people; it stands alone but would be less confusing if read after one or two of the others. I did read the first two but it's some years ago now and I had quite forgotten all the villagers and school staff.

The book is set in its historical context by asides mentioning topical news items and pop songs of the era. Jack’s life is punctuated by minor frustrations of bureaucracy, a few misunderstandings, and occasional irate parents. However it’s also enriched regularly by typical mildly amusing mistakes made by children, and a few sparks of talent that make a teacher’s work so encouraging.

Yet despite it being a pleasant, easy read, I found it difficult to be motivated to read it. I feel that the series is getting a little tired. The children’s anecdotes are predictable; and since every child speaks with the same kind of voice, it's hard to know who is who. I smiled a couple of times when reading, but there were no chuckles or tears.

Still, it's not a bad book. I think it would appeal to those who enjoy light-weight meanderings into a gentler way of school and village life, prior to the National Curriculum, when mobile phones were in their infancy and people actually stopped to have conversations with each other.

Three and a half stars would be fairer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 7 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I have read some of Gervase Phinn's books that are along similar lines to this so I was really looking forward to reading this book by Jack Sheffield.

I was lucky enough to be accepted and to download an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
So the cover shows the scene of a typical school nativity play which is a scene from the book which of course makes the book perfect for it's release prior to Christmas.
So would the cover attract me enough to buy the book? Yes it being "that time of year I'd definitely pick this one up to learn more.
So Jack Sheffield the Author of this book is the headmaster of the fictitious Ragley Village School. However through reading the book we learn this school exists in the North Yorkshire area. I love how the book is set out. At the beginning of each chapter we get the official School Log Book entry, and then you get the "normal" headmasters version of what happened.
The book contains lots of funny stories about the children at the school, as well as their parents, the school teachers etc. There are "laugh out loud" funny ones, "poignant ones", "heart-warming" and "heart-breaking" ones too. I think there really is something in this book to appeal to everyone! I'd say the book would be read by all ages, especially those that are mothers,grandmothers aunties etc.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, had both tears of laughter and a little sadness at a certain point in the book too. Would I recommend the book? Yes, it's the ideal stocking filler gift to mothers, aunties and grandmothers! Would I read another of this style of book by Jack Sheffield? I think I probably would yes, though I read this one exclusively for reviewing purposes this is the type of book you could dip in and out of.
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