Learn Me Gooder

ABOUT John Pearson

John Pearson
I used to be a design engineer. Now I'm a 3rd grade math teacher. Conference calls have been replaced with parent conferences. Product testing has given way to standardized testing. Instead of business cards, I now pass out report cards. The only thing that hasn’t changed noticeably is t More...


In this sequel to Learn Me Good, Jack Woodson (no longer a green behind the ears teacher) returns to recount another school year’s worth of challenges, triumphs, and mishaps with a brand new cast of wild and crazy students.
Six years have passed, and this time around, Jack gets a talking monkey sidekick, a beautiful love interest, and a top-secret undercover CIA assignment to Uranus. (Well, ONE of those things is true, anyway.) There are witty quotes, riotous stories, and more twists and turns than M. Night Shyamalan’s small intestine.
Through email correspondence with Fred Bommerson, Jack talks about PTA fundraisers gone awry, unnatural food chains, and how any action can be made acceptable as long as “it’s for science.” With subject lines such as “Diarrhea of a Wimpy Kid,” “Green Eggs and Math,” and “Houston, we have a word problem,” it’s perfect for reading in small chunks or one long session.

For those who read "Learn Me Good," you know exactly what to expect from "Learn Me Gooder." If you liked the first book, you'll like this sequel. If not, the sequel isn't for you, either. Everyone else, read on.

I've been wondering lately if I'm losing my sense of humor, at least where books are concerned. I find plenty to laugh at in books from non-humor genres. Snappy, smart-ass dialogue and funny situations that are part of a bigger story still unleash the chuckles. But most of the books I've read where being funny was their main aim have fallen short. They've had funny parts. They've also had irritating, stupid, and even infuriating parts. "Learn Me Gooder" has convinced me it is still possible to make me laugh the whole way through and alleviated my concerns about that missing sense of humor.

The book is structured as a series of chronological emails from John Woodson, a fictional elementary teacher, to his former coworker, Fred Bommerson, who still works for Woodson's former employer. Each email has a subject line that is usually humorous, often a play on words that relates to the subject. One example is "That doesn't make any cents," as the subject for an email where Woodson tells Boomerson about trying to teach his class the relative values of US coins. Each email is "signed" with a name that follows the same pattern, "Seven Dollar Billy" for the last email and "Add' em Ant," for an email about teaching addition.

These added touches add to the funniness and give a hint of Pearson's sense of humor and wit, but the body of the emails is where the real fun lies. The situations described are, if not totally true, at least totally believable. Although drawn from Pearson's actual teaching experiences, "Learn Me Gooder" is fictionalized and, at times, the author takes literary license for a better story. Pearson combines school happenings with his inner dialogue, then stirs in comparisons to his former coworkers and comes up with comedy gold. Although each email is a discrete unit, like a small chapter, the book doesn't read like a series of emails. Pearson's students and even his former coworkers become like characters in a novel as we follow the students' progress through the year. Likewise, in references to Bommerson and his other ex-coworkers, Pearson integrates them into the story too. (Sometimes the adult world isn't that much different than elementary school.) If you have children, work with children, or have ever been a child, I think you'll find "Learn Me Gooder" just the thing to tickle your funny bone.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **

Other Book(s) By John Pearson