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Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? Hardcover – June 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (June 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525675302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525675303
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,368,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Glenn's (Class Dismissed) diverse collection of free verse describes the aftermath of the murder of an English teacher at Tower High School. Focusing on the feelings and opinions of the characters more than on suspense or action, the text cleverly embraces varied narratives?a press memo, a police interview, a letter from the Board of Education?but consists mainly of the dramatic monologues of students and staff at the school. "I hope his soul goes straight to heaven./ What that man did for me,/ .../ He made feel smarter than I am," says one; "I hope his soul goes straight to hell,/ What that man did for me,/ .../ He made me feel stupider than I am," says that student's twin. The girl who had a crush on Chippendale, the students he encouraged or flunked, the guidance counselor who loved him?all are represented in one-page poems. Clues and red herrings drop somewhat obviously, and the killer is apprehended in one of the final poems. While the format allows Glenn license to experiment with different voices, the verse seems like a plain-spoken prose text divided up arbitrarily into line lengths to resemble poetry. The language is gritty and colloquial, but the characters aren't individuals so much as types. However, YA readers who share Glenn's taste for heavy irony might enjoy the Spoon River-esque storytelling. Ages 12-up. (June) Nonfiction
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up?High school English teacher Robert Chippendale is shot and killed one morning while running on the Tower High track before class. Moments earlier, he'd had a confrontation with a shadowy figure in a red-hooded sweatshirt. That's all readers learn early on in this mystery in poem format. But more than a whodunit, this unique offering explores a multitude of issues in its pages. Single-page conversational poems are presented, each of which bears the name of a different student, teacher, or community member touched by the murder. Not only do the poems clue readers into the characters' personalities and sensibilities, but they also provide a telling commentary on the attitudes toward violence reflected in our society at large. The cast is large, ranging from students who loved or hated "Mr. C" to guidance counselor Angela Falcone, who ties the book together. An epilogue takes readers 13 years into the future to show what the characters, including the murderer, are doing with their lives. Glenn delivers a starkly realistic view of modern high-school life. A clever idea, executed in a thoughtful, compelling, and thoroughly accessible manner.?Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?" is one of my favorite books. I have reread it many times. I love how it is all in poetry, and how there are so many different characters. It kept me guessing who the killer was until the end. I would recommend it to anyone. I wish the author (Mel Glenn) would write more of these types of books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Murder at Tower High!! Mr. Robert Chippendale, DEAD!! He was assassinated while jogging on the track field. This book I would have to say would be classified as a mystery of poems. The author Mel Glenn does an exceptional job with the characters and how they relate to real life. What is also quite interesting is that Mel Glenn had so many different suspects. There were at least four or five different possibilites. Also he tricks you at the end on the book. Just when you think you know who is the murderer, boom, you're wrong, just like that. It's over. There is just one thing that I didn't like, and I think you would agree with me...the ending. It just ended so abruptly. It didn't leave you hanging but, come on, you just can't write a 100 page book and end it on page 99, you just can't do that. I think people would like to know why he did it, and what happened after that. What about Mr. Chippendale's family?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By fra7299 VINE VOICE on December 20, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While out for an early morning jog, Tower High English teacher Robert Chippendale is cut down by a bullet to the head. This shocking event deeply affects those at Tower High School and the surrounding community. Thus, a mystery ensues: Who committed this murder? Why would any one want to kill Mr. Chippendale? Was it one of the students at Tower High? Or could it be one of the faculty?

Mel Glenn presents this riddle in the form of poems, as students, faculty, and community react to the teacher's death in poetic form. Not only do their statements give insight into who they are or what ties they might have to Chippendale, but also illustrate their general reaction to school and potential for violence. Angela Falcone, one of the counselors at Tower, seems to have had a close relationship with the fallen teacher. Several students comment about how Mr. Chippendale was their inspiration in life, or in school, teaching them to take on life's obstacles. Some students didn't see eye to eye with their instructor, and could care less that he's been shot. As each character tells their bit, we learn more and more, and finally get closer to the truth......

One criticism (which has been cited already by a reviewer) I have is the book's abrupt ending. The ending could have been so much more powerful had we been given some kind of deeper insight into the "whys" of several of the pertinent suspects and those close to the teacher. Instead, we are just given the answer, and then a snapshot of how the event affected the characters' lives thirteen years later.

Although this book states an interest level as being high school level, it is probably better suited for a more mature student due to the serious themes and issues of violence explored. Therefore, I cannot say this would be recommended for all students, but a select few. It is a powerful book, though, and I really like the creative touch of narration explored by the author.

3 1/2 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stacey Alfie on May 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book Is a fantastic book. It really captures teenagers attention. It is neither boring or "dumb". Mr glenn is able to write from all the characters points of view as to the horible situation that occured at their school. This book is NOT graphic in Violent detail as so many others are. I beleive that this author has donr a good job at writing a book that will attract many teen readers...but then my opinion may be biased as Mr.glenn was my former english teacher and one of the best teachers I ever remember having and that was over 16 years ago. Please try this book I am sure you will enjoy it and the other books writen by this author.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Chippendale, a high school teacher, has been murdered. It happened in the morning as he was running on the school track. Someone shot him in the head from the roof of the school building and he was killed instantly. There is now an investigation taking place at the high school to try to find out who it was that took this fatal shot.

This story is told entirely in poems, from the poems at the beginning describing how Mr. Chippendale was feeling at the start of his morning run, to poems from the points of view of various students, faculty and people in the neighborhood. Some students though Mr. Chippendale was the best teacher they'd ever had. He made a real difference in the lives of some of his students, encouraging them to be better than they thought they could be, to try harder and set higher goals for themselves. Other students saw him as boring, a lousy teacher who made them feel bad about themselves and never helped them at all.

Mr. Chippendale's fellow teachers didn't seem to know him much better than his students did. He and one of the guidance counselors had a brief relationship, but even she feels like they never really had a connection. What could Mr. Chippendale have done to drive someone to murder?

I thought the poem aspect was really interesting. It allowed the thoughts of the students and others to wander around the story and their impressions of Mr. Chippendale instead of having to explain things in a linear way.

There was much left unanswered, though. I never got a really good grasp on who Mr. Chippendale was, and the secret of who the killer was seemed like it should have been better set up. There should have been more clues pointing to that person.
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