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“If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it,” says Russell Culver, fifteen, who’s raring to light out for the endless skies of the Dakotas to join a team of harvesters working the new 1904 all-steel threshing machines. School’s only standing in the way of his Dakota dreams. Maybe now with his teacher in the ground, Hominy Ridge School will shut down for good.
No such luck. Russell and his schoolmates–Pearl, Flopears, Little Britches; the whole bunch–are about to be ruled by a new teacher who’s Russell’s worst nightmare.
Despite stolen supplies, rustic vandalism, a blazing boys’ privy, and more snakes than you can shake a stick at, the new teacher will keep the school afloat and set Russell on a new course entirely.