43 pages 1 hour read

Richard Peck

The Teacher's Funeral

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade

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Part 1, Chapters 1-4

Part 1: “Kissing Summer Good-Bye”

Chapter 1 Summary: “August”

It is the end of August, just before the start of the school year, when 15-year-old Russell Culver and his younger brother, Lloyd, learn that their highly unpopular teacher, Miss Myrt Arbuckle, has died. The boys think it is a “miracle” (3). Russell and Lloyd hope that Miss Arbuckle’s death means the school board will close their old, outdated one-room schoolhouse, and Russell will be free to pursue his dream. Russell assures Lloyd that since folks don’t have much to do in August, their teacher’s funeral will draw a crowd.

Chapter 2 Summary: “The Best Boys in the World”

Even before the news of Miss Arbuckle’s death, Russell and Lloyd have a great day. The Case Special train makes its annual stop at the Montezuma station, bringing hundreds of men out to see the newest models of steam engines and threshing machines. It is “better than the 4th of July” (6). Russell and Lloyd work hard at their chores to ensure their Dad lets them attend. Tansy, their no-nonsense older sister, cooks a huge noon dinner and makes sure everybody washes their hands and eats before the menfolk hitch up and drive into town. When Case Special pulls into the station, Russell sees the 12-foot Uncle Sam on stilts and the Gold Dust Twins giving away soap scour pads.