Fourth-grade monster hunters Carlos and Benny face their greatest, or at least smelliest, challenge yet.
What with “funky wet-cat-with-gas” odors coming out of the ventilators and a rash of students and faculty raving scarily before falling into comas, Monterrosa Elementary is on the verge of being shut down. Previous experiences with cannibalistic lunch ladies and other supernatural hazards have left Latino narrator Carlos and his white best friend, Benny, poised to deal with the ghosts or whatever else is plaguing the school…but the dog-sized, lion-headed stinging scorpions they find lurking in the mechanical room turn out to be only the beginning of their problems. Hale adds new student Esme Ygorre (white and a descendant of a renowned monster expert who spelled his name slightly differently) to the already notably diverse cast, livens up the narrative with one-liners and vivid similes (“Her face went as grim as an all-kale buffet”), and ups the stakes considerably with an entire army of chimerical horrors created by (natch) a billionaire villain. A spritz of cola and a little—OK, a lot of—catnip finally bring down scorp-lions and villain alike, but more monsters on the loose promise further sequels. A lenticular cover image adds melodrama to the light assortment of droll pen-and-ink drawings inside.
More side-splitting, nose-holding heroics…in the face of a still-rising tide of monsters. (Horror. 8-10)