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.