Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert

Just a quick post about a quick (and entertaining) book for the elementary set--The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert (Scholastic, June 2014).

Sam Graves has just been appointed Hall Monitor at Eerie Elementary School, and on his first day, the playground tries to eat him.  Afternoon hall monitoring goes no better- the school comes to really scary life--the clock its beating heart, the fire hoses like living serpents, the tree outside a malevolent hand, and more-- and Sam is once again its target!  Both times he is saved by the wise old janitor, who shares the horrible truth with him.  The school is alive, and it is hungry!

Sam, as Hall Monitor, is all that stands against its rapacious evil!!!!!  And when the school strikes at his best friends during the class play, Sam must save them from the hideous maw of folding chairs that's trying to consume them...

So maybe it sounds kind of silly, and maybe it is, but it was actually really creepy because goodness knows an elementary school at night alone with lockers banging supernaturally at you etc. would be really terrifying.   I think Jack Chabert did a tremendously effective job bringing his school to scary life!

The pacing is pretty much spot on for the 7 or 8 year old reader--nice fast action with bits of friendship centered narrative breaking it up, and the plot is one that will be comfortable in its familiarity--wise mentor teaches young hero to fight evil. 

An added bonus is that Sam's best friend, Antonio (cast as Peter Pan in the play) is shown as a kid of color in the illustrations.  Yay for a non-white Peter Pan!

So I am able to recommend this one with a pretty high degree of confidence to 7 or 8 year olds who are still most at home with pretty short, easy books and who don't mind being scared.  I would not give this one to a kid who is already afraid of school, though.  It would make things worse!

The second book in the series, The Locker Ate Lucy, was just released at the end of August....and I am almost tempted to give it a quick read just for my own amusement.....

(It's possible that I am biased in favor of this series because Hall Monitor Sam of course reminds me of another Sam who was Blackboard Monitor....)
Disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher

1 comment:

  1. I know our librarian is always looking for some creepy, somewhat scary books this looks like it could work.


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