Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Substitute Creacher

Substitute Creacher
written & illustrated by Chris Gall
Little, Brown & Company, 2011.
Grades 1-5
Reviewed from purchased copy.

The troublemaking students of Ms. Jenkins' class arrive at school one day to discover a substitute creacher has come to put a stop to their monkey business! He regales them with mind-boggling stories about his former students who didn't follow the rules: Keith the glue-eater, Zach the daydreamer, and Hank the prankster, to name a few. But even this multi-tentacled, yellow-spotted, one-eyed monster's cautionary tales about the consequences of mischief-making can't seem to change the students' wicked ways until he reveals the spookiest and most surprising story of all: his own. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9419182-substitute-creacher)
 I must confess, I'm not entirely sure about this book.  On the one hand, the rhymes are fun to read, but it's hard to switch back and forth from the rhyming text to the regular text.  The illustrations are fun, but I'm not real fond of monster stories.  I'm not sure what the fifth graders I read this story to thought about it either, I should have asked for feedback. 

One thing I am sure of, they were not bored.  The bright, colorful, and artfully arranged illustrations definitely kept their attention (hard to do when you have 30+ students).  I especially liked the way certain pieces of the text were highlighted, this helps the reader know when it's time to change one's tone of voice to make the story as delightfully creepy as possible.

Another interesting thing I noticed was the questions the students had about the ending.  Several students suggested different possibilities for how the ending came about and what it meant for the main character (the Creacher).  So the story is definitely thought-provoking. I plan to use the book today with another class of fifth graders and see what they think.  Overall, I'd say the book was a success and worth using again.

Read-to-Me Picture Book Challenge Goal: 36

Completed: 3

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