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The Other Side of the Dale Paperback – September 1, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gervase Phinn is a teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, school inspector, educational consultant and visiting professor of education - but none of these is more important than his family.

For fourteen years he taught in a range of schools, then acted as General Advisor for Language Development in Rotherham before moving on to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector - time that has provided so much source material for his books. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Honorary Fello of St John's College, York.

Gervase lives with his family in Doncaster.

From AudioFile

Gervase Phinn has written an entertaining memoir of his first year as a school inspector in North Yorkshire. His love of children and his job comes through in the stories he recounts of overseeing teachers and curriculum in this rural area of England. However, his audio delivery is stilted, with pauses in unnatural places that make him sound like he is speaking to someone who has difficulty with English. The monotone delivery does not convey the enthusiasm that the words do. N.E.M. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140275428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140275421
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
A good belly laugh book.
Sarah
His character descriptions are vivid and allow you to picture this wealth of strange colleagues very clearly.
Irene McGinney
Phinn is a man in love with life and this shines through in his writing.
Charles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Irene McGinney on June 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having heard Gervais Phinn talk on an afternoon chat show describing his life as a schools inspector with humour and great dedication I was anxious to read his book "The Other Side of the Dale".
It was one of those texts which you find incredibly difficult to put down. I laughed out loud at his desciptions of answers given by small children and was able to relate them to my own experiences as an infant teacher.
He has the "gift of the gab" and enthralls his readers from the very first chapter.
One can tell by his writing that he is an honest and sincere person whose very love of life is the reason why he does the work he takes great delight in.
He shares every laugh & sometimes tear in a way that is as if he is an old friend and you are together catching up on news and gossip.
His character descriptions are vivid and allow you to picture this wealth of strange colleagues very clearly.
His romance with the "lovely Christine" is a joy to behold and I could hardly contain myself to wait for his second book to find out what happened.
He writes of his experiences with a truthful and interesting style which carries the reader along with him on his journey through country lanes and among the hedgerows of the farming communities where he travelled.
I felt that I was with him as he stood at picture windows looking out on the magnificent and striking views of the Dales.
There is a childlike quality in the way he sees life - it is honest and open. He writes of things he sees with an element of awe and wonder [like a child seeing their first aeroplane, balloon, etc.] and colours the pages with his glorious grasp of language.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Scott N. Stone on October 2, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Phinn clearly loves children, schools and Yorkshire. His pictures of the countryside, of its stalwart but reserved people, and of their dialect, invite favorable comparison with James Herriott. This is a special place, largely unspoiled by McDonalds and internet chat rooms, and that alone is a reason to celebrate while reading the book.
Phinn observes and writes honestly, capturing with equanimity and good humor a range of personalities from child prodigy to tyrannical administrative assistant. Sure, there are dozens of portraits of cute kids who say funny things, and of dedicated teachers who have mastered the ineffable art of educating. These alone are worth the price of the book. But want a trenchant dissection of exactly what makes an annoying person annoying? Phinn lays it out, while maintaining his humor and emotional distance and never conveying any feeling that he is settling old scores.
And yes, there is the thread of his sometimes-stumbling courtship of the alluring Miss Bentley. That also keeps one turning the pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of us who often want to read something which is enjoyable and yet relaxing at the same time, this novel by Gervase Phinn certainly hits the spot. Recounting his experiences during his first year as a school inspector, Phinn takes us on many trips through North Yorkshire that puts the reader in the center of that wonderful landscape and among those truly fascinating people. The book was first released in 1998 and has held up very well from the standpoint of technology within the school systems because it doesn't rely heavily on that technology. This book has its focus firmly on the relationships between Phinn and the people he comes into contact with while learning his new job.

The prose is warm and comfortable, even comforting at times, because it represents such a change from the mad rush in which we are so often forced to live our lives these days. Phinn shows us how these stalwart people of the Dales manage to slow him down as they enjoy their more rural way of life. Since Mr. Phinn is also a poet, his descriptions of the people he meets and the physical landscapes he sees are nothing short of brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this first book and plan to continue reading many more in the series. If you like this type of novel which walks you down memory lane to slower paced times in the English countryside, you might also enjoy the Miss Read books such as Village School (The Fairacre Series #1) and Thrush Green (Thrush Green Series, Book 1). If you enjoyed either reading the novels or watching the television series about James Herriot, then Gervase Phinn will certainly be an author you will want to sample.
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By Helena on February 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Each of Mr. Phinn's books is delightfully charming and amusingly witty. Each is a pleasant and peaceful read. Being an American, I also found the descriptions of the British school system fascinating. And, of course, who can resist anything set in Yorkshire? I can't! Mr. Phinn doesn't quite have that certain special something that James Herriot captured in his wriitings...but almost!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This, the first book in a series of five, is a delightful account of the experiences of an inspector of schools in Yorkshire. Its form is anecdotal and, quite apart from the fact of it also being set in Yorkshire, similar in style to Herriot's vet books. If you enjoyed those, you will love this book (and all the subsequent ones in the series). Phinn writes eloquently and with insight and humour about the children, parents, teachers and colleagues he encounters every day in his work. Like Herriot, he is also passionate about the seasonal changes in beauty of the the Yorkshire dales. Phinn is a man in love with life and this shines through in his writing. Beautifully written and uplifting I thoroughly recommend Phinn's delightful autobiographical series, of which "The Other Side of the Dale" is the first.
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