October 05, 2004

The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler

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For my teaching course I have to reviw a number of childrens books. Here are my notes:

The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler – by Gene Kemp

The first chapter, as well as every other chapter begins with a joke which I am sure gives the book instant appeal to children. It follows straight on from this with action and immediately gives the reader an impression for the main character Tyke, who is telling the story in the first person.

Tyke is a very dominant and aggressive character, interested in climbing and very physically capable. We are gripped after the cliff hanger at the end of the first chapter. Partly due to the first person account though we also discover Tyke’s sense of truth and responsibility for others such as Danny, Tykes friend, who not only has a speech impediment but is a much less intellectually alert character than Tyke.

Although the two friends get into a series of trouble together we forgive Danny because of his simpleness and family background and also Tyke, due to an appreciation of motive and loyalty. Tyke is eventually caught for trying to help Danny after he stole ten pounds from a teachers purse but after following Tykes sense of right and wrong in this matter and the way in which it was at least attempted to be handled, we are glad that a fair minded headmaster doesn’t make the punishment too harsh. The adventures continue as we grow to know our characters and their pets. Danny becomes obsessive about a skellinton and Tyke recovers the bones for him. We grow to appreciate their friendship as Tyke helps him in a test that would otherwise see them sent to separate schools.

Danny’s character is then delightfully changed from impulsive and helpless thief: to honourable Knight of the round table when a new teacher gives him her faith and favour. We see Danny as misunderstood and redeemable and believe that much of this, as their teacher Mr Merchant believes, is a result of Tykes positive influence. The climax of the book we think results in Danny being accused of stealing a watch which we, as well as Tyke know he didn’t take, and hiding. Tyke, after a difficult confrontation, manages to convince the headmaster that Danny was set up by stepping into the headmasters adult language and confronting him on his own terms. This leads to the happy ending of our characters being redeemed as well as their enemies being defeated and shown for what they really are. A perfect children’s book ending.

SKIP THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK YOU WILL SPOIL AN AMAZING ENDING! READ ON FROM NEXT CAPITALS.

This however is not the end. On the last day Tyke looks up to the top of the school building to the bell, un sounded for thirty years and hears the voice of their history passionate teacher, telling of a former Tiler who climbed and rang that bell. Tyke is the best climber in the school and the school is empty. On the roof Tyke is about to ring the bell when the crowded figures below shout not to. Not wanting anymore trouble Tyke is about to get down when Mrs Somers, the teacher Tyke hates, shouts angrily and uses Tykes real name which we know Tyke hates. Tykes name is Theodora and Tyke is a ‘naughty, disobedient girl!’ This one sentence turns the book completely on its head and shakes our understanding of the character we thought we knew so well.

CONTINUE READING FROM HERE.

The strength of the book lies in its accurate portrayal of events through the eyes and emotions of Tyke and our fundamental belief in every word weighs up to make us unable to believe we had not known this simple fact about our hero. Not only does it make the reader mentally re-read the entire book but the readers entire approach to reading and observation.

I loved this book and I’m sure children love this book as well. It deals effectively with issues such as loyalty, justice and even romance from the point of view of a child. It deals in adventure of a mundane sort that only children appreciate where a load of old sheep bones in a smelly river can become a dead mans bones. The sort of adventure that in adult life is thought of as Don Quixote like madness. It is set in a world that contains almost entirely a school, a home and a few secret places, adult readers remember it and children live in it, so both believe whole heartedly.

The last chapter leaves us more convinced of its reality as it reveals the story to be set down by the teacher as he sat listening to Tykes account of a turbulent term as Tyke lies in bed recovering from injuries; as the school fell down about both ears, as the school bell rung within them.


- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. i want to read this but there's no way i am going to attempt it when its so tightly packed like that. i think my eyes will fry!

    space it out dude.

    05 Oct 2004, 21:59

  2. cheers.

    i think i probably came across as a bit rude in the last comment but i will now read it and give my verdict…..

    06 Oct 2004, 17:43

  3. cool, sounds like a good book. it sounds like it has a good depth to it which people often underestimate kid's ability ro understand.

    thanks for the little 'dont read this paragraph' bit. i hate it when im told the ending to a book.

    06 Oct 2004, 17:46

  4. Cheers Anthony
    It was a point well made in the first place I just dumped the stuff straight on from my hard drive and it weren't pretty, so no worries.
    Glad you liked the knickers

    06 Oct 2004, 17:54


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