Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 2 - 5O4.518744
It's 1948 and ten-year-old Fred has just watched her teacher leave -- another in a long line of teachers who have left the village because the smell of fish was too strong, the way of life too hard. Will another teacher come to the small Athabascan village on the Koyukuk River to teach Fred and her friends in the one-room schoolhouse? Will she stay, or will she hate the smell of fish, too?

Fred doesn't know what to make of Miss Agnes Sutterfield. She sure is a strange one. No other teacher throws away old textbooks and reads Greek myths and Robin Hood. No other teacher plays opera recordings, talks about "hairy os," and Athabascan kids becoming doctors or scientists. No other teacher ever said Fred's deaf older sister should come to school, too. And no other teacher ever, ever told the kids they were each good at something. Maybe it's because Miss Agnes can't smell anything, let alone fish, that things seem to be all right. But then Miss Agnes says she's homesick and will go back to England at the end of the year. Fred knows what this is about: Just when things seem to be good, things go back to being the same.

How Fred and her friends grow with Miss Agnes is the heart of this story, told with much humor and warmth by Fred herself This is a story about Alaska, about the old ways and the new, about pride. And it's a story about a great teacher who opens a door to the world -- where, once you go through, nothing is ever the same again.

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published on September 1, 2000 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
ISBN-10: 0689829337
ISBN-13: 9780689829338
2 Book Reviews
  • pandacupcake222
    pandacupcake222almost 2 years11 star
    This book takes place in 1948. Fredricka (Fred) lives in Athabascan and goes to school in a small schoolhouse. It always smells like fish and every teacher they have always leaves after a year. Then they get a new teacher. Her name is Miss Agnes. Miss Agnes can’t smell so she doesn’t mind that it always stinks of fish. She is an interesting teacher and teaches the kids things they never learned before.
    • oreppert
      oreppertabout 3 years44 stars
      It's about a teacher in Alaska from England who comes to teach at a school that doesn't have a teacher. It is kind of sad.