There are six types of teachers in the world:
- Zombies, who have been teaching for centuries;
- Caff-Adds, also known as Zuzzers because they talk so fast;
- Dungeon Masters, who revel in their oppressive power;
- Spielbergs, who show movies all the time;
- Noobs, who are fresh and bright for a year or two before they burn out into a different category; and
- the Good Ones.
Topher, Steve, and Brand know this because they are the ones who created the classification scheme.
Topher's the storyteller, inventing epic narratives for most everything, which he usually ends up writing or drawing. Steve is the genius with a near photographic memory, who generally has trouble with the illogical ways of others. Brand is the sociable one with common sense who knows how to take care of things--and people. And Ms. Bixby is one of the Good Ones, who has happened to become particularly meaningful to each of the three friends.
When her cancer diagnosis not only steals Ms. Bixby away before the end of the school year but sends her to the hospital even before her planned last day, when her class was to have a party with her, the boys decide to take matters into their own hands: they skip school to deliver, as closely as they can manage, Ms. Bixby's perfect last day to her. They know from the start that it's going to be a pretty big, risky quest, but have no idea just how epic chance and misfortune will make it.
The three sixth-graders take turns telling their story, and through their narration readers come to know them deeply. They are each sympathetic, endearing, and complex, young enough to be immature and silly--the book opens with them getting chased by a classmate for telling her she has cooties ("We've run tests. She came up positive on the cootometer, all red, off the charts")--while old enough to handle some very serious things. They are entirely believable, and their story nicely balances humor, tragedy, and drama. The obstacles they encounter and the course of their adventure are equally believable. Together, those ingredients make for one highly-enjoyable, quality book.