Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate

Eerie Elementary still stands… and Recess is a JUNGLE!

Eerie Elementary is a school with a secret – it’s ALIVE! Possessed by the spirit of Orson Eerie, the school is locked in an eternal battle to eat the children of Eerie Elementary, and only Sam Graves, the Hall Monitor (and his mentor, janitor Mr. Nekobi) stands in the way of that happening. Along with his friends, Antonio and Lucy, Sam battles the forces of evil and keeps Eerie Elementary safe.


Eerie Elementary #3: Recess is a JUNGLE!, by Jack Chabert/Illustrated by Sam Ricks (Jan. 2015, Scholastic), $4.99, ISBN: 9780545873529

Recommended for ages 8-10

This time, though, old Eerie may have our group of friends where he wants them. While Sam, Antonio, and Lucy are kicking a soccer ball around at recess, the ball gets away from them. They chase after it, only to discover themselves in a foggy jungle! The grass and trees come alive, trying to keep them in, and when they make it back to the school grounds, they find themselves in a giant hedge maze – while the jungle gym comes to life and heads toward the school to devour the students! No, my friends, it’s not just the school that’s alive: it’s everything on the school grounds! Will Sam and his friends be able to rescue the students of Eerie Elementary this time?

This series is just too much fun. For kids who are ready to something a little spooky and fun, but aren’t quite ready to tackle Goosebumps yet, this is the series to give them. The Branches books are perfect for young and developing readers, with illustrations on every page and short, fast-paced, easy to read chapters. This is the third book in the Eerie Elementary series, and they just get better as they go. You don’t need to read the series from the beginning, either – there’s a sentence or two worth of summary in the story that tells new readers what they need to know, and they’ll be happy to pick up the first books after they’re done.

There’s a good Branches page on the Scholastic site that provides links to all the Branches series, plus links to classroom and parent guides. Pair these with the discussion questions at the back of the book and have a great book chat with the little readers in your life!

Posted in Fiction

Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive, and the Hall Monitor is Your Only Hope!

eerie elementaryEerie Elementary #1: The School is Alive! (A Branch Book), by Jack Chabert (Scholastic, June 2014). $4.99, ISBN: 9780545623926

Recommended for ages 7-10

Scholastic is great for putting out affordable series that keep kids reading, and Eerie Elementary is firmly in that camp. The first book in their new Eerie Elementary series, The School is Alive! introduces us to elementary school student, Sam Graves, and his friends, Antonio and Lucy. The school year is starting, and Sam is bemoaning the fact that he’s been named a Hall Monitor. On his first day of duty, he almost sinks into quicksand on school property and hears strange noises coming from the school itself. He finds out pretty quickly that the school is alive, and it’s evil – and that the Hall Monitor is the last line of defense in keeping the students safe. Naturally, his friends think he’s crazy, but he’s determined to see his job through and keep his friends and fellow students out of the clutches of the evil school building.

The series is part of Scholastic’s new Branches line of books – chapter books aimed at newly independent readers. The books feature illustrations on every page, easy-to-read text, and fast-paced stories. I liked seeing main characters of elementary school age; many characters in series books are in middle school or older, relegating elementary school characters often to the role of annoying younger sibling. Establishing these characters early on will connect with readers new to chapter books and give them some exciting reading. I can’t wait to get these on my shelves for my younger patrons who are ready for a thriller, but have a hard time finding them at their reading level.