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4.4 out of 5 stars95
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 1 July 2007
I usually have about three books on the go at once but this one kind of took over. I read in in three evenings - it really is such a lovely book, I'd recommend it to anyone. It will make you smile, laugh out loud (so be careful not to read it in a public place, people might think you are a bit strange). I have a little knowledge of the area so it was fun trying to workout the real names of the places mentioned - I think I spotted Chapel-le-Dale and the Old Hill Inn at the start of the book and a few other places. Looking forward to starting Over Hill and Dale next.
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on 31 March 2008
I can wholeheartedly recommend all the five "Dales" books. I discovered Gervase Phinn after my mother who is a deputy head gave me the third book as a present. As a former teacher turned teaching assistant I relate to these situations that Gervase encountered on a daily basis in the primary school environment. I could even add some more tales for his next book if he needs any more material!!! I also enjoy the scenes of friendly banter between Gervase and his colleagues at County Hall. I bet all of us know a Mrs Savage character somewhere in our lives! As other reviewers state, I too could not put the book down until I had completed it. Gervase Phinn is a born storyteller on the page and on the stage. (I saw his show live a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the performance) He captivates audiences with his humorous anecdotes and experiences. More of the same please, Gervase!
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on 24 March 2004
This book the first from School Inspector Gervase Phinn is a must for those who want a read that that urges you to turn the pages to see what happens next. Having read this book after my girlfriend, I can see now how she managed to go through it in a week. Gervase is a compeling story teller and, shows all to often how children can supprise us all in what they know and do. The only negative is that it ends to soon, so I recomend that you order all four and just go for it.
Brilliant, Gervase has created work that make reading a joy.
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on 3 August 2001
I loved this book - my mum had read it first and raved on about it - she was right. I work in Education in an FE college, but the people encountered in this book are everywhere not just in schools. The descriptions of people, places and situations were so vivid that it was like being there with the author. Can't praise it enough and am going to order "Over Hill and Dale"
Absolutely Brilliant!!
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on 27 August 2000
I was inspired by Gervase Phinn after hearing him speak at a newly qualified teacher's conference. This book only slightly captures his natural energy and talents as a speaker although I still found his written word humorous and full of the funny anecdotes that dominated his lecture. The content of this book will appeal to those in education, although I felt that it did not wholly capture the realism surrounding school inspections, particularly reactions of teaching staff to the arrival of a school inspector. (I'm referring here to the warm welcomes and the open invitations to return littered throughout the text!). However, Phinn's obvious and natural love of children is wonderful and he does have a natural story telling manner. Despite this, I was left feeling disappointed by the abrupt ending which leaves the loose ends of the story far from tied!
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on 23 May 1999
I have read this book twice now, it is full of all the trials, enjoyments and traumas of any new school inspector.
The intrigue of small children and the lessons that can be learnt from them are all highlighted in this fantastic book.
Definiately worth a read!
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on 4 September 2000
Read the paperback then listen to the tape. You will then want to read the book again, except this time you read it in the authors voice. But beware, laughing outloud at traffic lights when you are alone in the car does lead to some strange looks.
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on 7 November 1999
I really enjoyed this book and from the first few pages didn't want it to end. I can understand some readers finding it unrealistic-especially if you have been subjected to a school inspection-but I found it quite refreshing to read something positive about education even if it was through 'rose coloured glasses'.
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on 16 June 2010
I highly enjoyed this gentle selection of anecdotes about Gervase Phinn's experiences in his first year as a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales. Phinn has a talent for introducing eccentric and warm-hearted characters, and his enthusiasm for the role he had comes through strongly.

This book is quintessentially English - in fact, the Yorkshire Dales almost become a character in their own right. We see them through Phinn's eyes as the seasons pass, and his descriptions of the various schools he visits are vividly drawn.

It is very much in the spirit of James Herriott, and is a very pleasurable way to spend a couple of hours.
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on 29 November 2000
Having seen Mr. Phinn speak at a publishing event and have an audience of 700 people in tears for 1 hour if not more I couldn't wait to find out more. It is a picturesque book, describing the beauty of the dales and the colourful characters which inhabit them. The teachers are ardent professionals, the towns people suspicious but the children are open and honest...especially when it comes to farm animals! I loved the book but would recommend an audio version narrated by the author. His dulcet northern tones bring the characters to life.
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