Ghosts, hall monitors and a strange old guy come together in this chapter book for new readers.
Third-grader Sam is not happy about being appointed a hall monitor at Eerie Elementary School. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that there is more to this job than just shushing people in the hall. What’s with the two crows eyeing him from the roof? Or the quicksand that suddenly appears on the playground? Whatever is going on, he is both relieved and creeped out when the old janitor saves him. It takes a while for Sam to figure out that he is more than just a monitor: He is supposed to protect everyone from the sinister school now that the janitor is weak and old and can no longer fight it. The intended audience might lose interest before finally figuring out the secret on Page 45. Lively illustrations might help them get there, especially when trees and fire hoses attack. Given the general slowness of the plot, it’s quite a contrast to see the kids pull off a full production of Peter Pan, complete with flying, in just a week. The large font and frequent illustrations should help new readers gain confidence, but the slow pacing and overwhelming amount of text on each page may well stymie them.
Good idea but uneven execution. (Horror. 7-10)