‘Don’t Call Me Ishmael’ by Michael Gerard Bauer

Award-Winning Author of ‘The Running Man’
Michael Gerard Bauer wrote ‘The Running Man’ and it won the 2005 CBCA Award for older readers. I found this book totally different. I loved them both and was pleased by how different they were. What a versatile writer! ‘The Running Man’, I found to be a more intense and intimate story, wheras ‘Don’t Call Me Ishmael’, is less mystery more comedy, yet equally well written and enjoyable.

School Life well captured
As a teacher I found the characters well written. It described many aspects of school life so well. I particularly enjoyed the vice-principal character. Does every school have a Mr Barker? I know ours does.

“Mr Barker was the school’s ‘go to’ guy. If ever a water or food
fight broke out in the yard or someone had money stolen or accidentally swallowed the lid of his pen ……. or put his fist through a window because he didn’t realise it was shut….or got his head stuck between the railings of the stairwell….. or if ever anyone had to be found, patched up, talked to, yelled at, disciplined, restrained or revived then the inevitable cries would go up, ‘Get Mr Barker. Find Mr Barker. Go see Mr Barker. Try Mr Barker. Ask Mr Barker.'”(pg 64)

Many of the student characters and dilemas I’ve seen before. They were beautifully and humanly described by Bauer.

Moby Dick and Debating
Authors of books for young adults have a civic duty to make good things cool, I believe and Bauer by introducing young readers, in a realistic way to Moby Dick and debating is doing a great service.

The humour was the highlight of the book. I was very amused by so many aspects of this book. I especially loved the English teachers first lesson. I was just as gripped as the characters, to see how she was going to deliver her promise. The peg in the pants scene was equally impressive.

CBCA Award 2007 for Older Readers
This is the third book I’ve read in this category now. I have no idea how they would choose. This book is quite different from ‘The Red Shoe’ and ‘Red Spikes’. I imagine it would be more popular with young people, but I think I enjoyed the other two more. It will be interesting to see. I hope I finish them all before it is announced. I’m half way through the older readers, so maybe I will just focus on that section.

2 Replies to “‘Don’t Call Me Ishmael’ by Michael Gerard Bauer”

  1. I had the pleasure of working with Michael a while back and he deserves all the success that comes his way. Having said that I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read his books yet. Thanks for the reminder – I am going to read one this holidays.

  2. I’m sure you will enjoy them. I was really impressed by how successfully he’s written two different kinds of books.

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