Let me begin by saying that this is really a 4.5 star review. I never slam a book with a bad review just because of grammatical errors, typos, and other things that should have been rectified in the editing process were the book published through traditional means instead of the "independent ebook author" route. Each review starts with 5 stars and then I deduct from there based on the problems I have with the book. If the grammar is atrocious I deduct a full star, for example. In this case there are typos in the text but they aren't enough to pull the reader out of the story or prove to be a distraction. The half-star deduction is for that reason.
This is definitely a book for kids. I am definitely not a kid. I'm in my mid-fifties with occasional gusts up into the low sixties. Nonetheless, I loved this book and will begin the sequel within minutes of completing this review. I'll be as brief as possible, but I did want to let you know a couple of the things that make this books special.
First of all, in truly classic stories authors often found a way to make the names of the principle characters relevant to the story. My favorite example of this is a short story written by, I believe, Ray Bradbury. It was a Hugo Award winning science fiction short story about a group of scientists on an exploration to unknown worlds. One of the scientists was a woman named Para. At the end of the story the big surprise twist is that these are not human beings at all, but are really microscopic creatures. The name Para was actually a clue. Her full name was "Para Mecium." Get it?
Well, Shane Pacelli not only knows of this old writer's aspect of the craft, he uses it to great effect in this story. The children have names like "Gene E Yuss" and the teachers also have names suiting their individual personalities. I'll leave the remainder of this feature for the reader to discover so as not to write a review full of things that might spoil the fun for potential readers. I just wanted to mention that I truly appreciated the author doing things this way and it really adds to the humor and fun of the story. In fact, it's just obvious enough that it is likely to teach some of the younger readers and potential writers to include this wonderful aspect in their own work as they grow up and develop their own craft. Mr. Pacelli, if you read your own Amazon reviews, thank you for "passing the torch," so to speak.
The book also avoids a HUGE and very common mistake made by educated adults writing for the "tweener" set. At no time does it read like a grown-up pretending to be a kid. It doesn't condescend or talk down to young readers, nor does it go the other way and populate the pages with a bunch of ten-year-olds that walk and talk as if they were still six. The students are age appropriate at all times, laughing at things children in that age group would find funny and thinking the correct things are cool. The only slight flaw in the story is that there is very little in the way of female characters - even at the teaching level.
I can't recommend this book enough. It's a great one for parents and children that read together to share with one another. I think most kids over the age of seven will enjoy it greatly. I also think most teens will get a kick out of it as well, but of course they'll never admit it in these "OMG I'm like So machuure 4 my age" times. As an adult with grown children I bought this book hoping it will be something worth sharing with my grandkids as they age into the appropriate target audience for the story. Surprisingly, with a minimal amount of skimming through the more obvious moments, I found it to be a greatly entertaining read on its own merits for me. Now it's time for me to check out the second book and consign this one to the "cloud" until the little ones grow or (more likely) the urge strikes me to spend some time with this teacher and his great group of kids once again.