Great for both Halloween and the start of a new school year, this is certain to provide more than a few laughs to kids who...

SUBSTITUTE CREACHER

In this cautionary tale that combines humor and a touch of magic, good behavior is the lesson of the day when a particularly naughty class of students has a substitute teacher.

The seven-tentacled, green substitute teacher, Mr. Creacher speaks in rhyme and glares from his single eye (in front that is; he's got three in back). He regales the class with tales of children who failed to behave in school and the fates that befell them. There’s Keith, the glue-eater who stuck to all he touched, Zach, the daydreamer who accidentally ate the class pet, and Kylie, the artist, whose drawing came to life and ravaged the classroom. Then, Beauty and the Beast–like, Mr. Creacher reveals that he himself was a naughty child, put under a spell and sentenced to teach children about their wicked ways. It works—the children promise to reform, and with his debt now repaid, Mr. Creacher can return to his own childhood a changed boy. Gall’s illustrations use speech bubbles that drip with green slime and graphic-novel elements to great effect, creating artwork that pops off the pages and appears almost three-dimensional. Touches of humor take the edge off some of the more frightening scenes.

Great for both Halloween and the start of a new school year, this is certain to provide more than a few laughs to kids who have seen through Viola Swamp’s disguise. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-08915-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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ATTACK OF THE SHARK-HEADED ZOMBIE

Aimed straight at proto-Goosebumps fans, this formulaic series opener pits two 9-year-olds against a great white shark with legs. Having lost his bike in a lake thanks to the latest hare-brained scheme of his impulsive cousin Henry, bookish Keats reluctantly agrees to finance a replacement by earning some money taking on odd jobs at a spooky local mansion. The prosaic task of weeding the garden quickly turns into an extended flight through a series of magical rooms after a shark monster rises out of the ground and gives chase. Dashing from one narrow squeak to the next, the lads encounter a kitchen with an invisible "sink," a giant vomiting bookworm in the library, a carpet pattern in the hall that (literally) bites and, most usefully, a magic wand that they get to keep (setting up future episodes) after spelling the monster away. Tilted points of view give the occasional illustrations more energy than the labored plot ever musters, and the characters rarely show even two dimensions. Fledgling readers will do better in the hands of Jim Benton’s Franny K. Stein series or Bruce and Katherine Coville’s Moongobble and Me books. (Horror. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86675-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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