By Jessica Farrow
Everyone's back to school, and hall monitors are hard at work! They make sure students get to class on time, help younger children cross the road, and...stop the school from eating everyone? If you go to Eerie Elementary, that's exactly what you're up against!
In Jack Chabert's The School is Alive! Sam Graves has just been selected as Eerie Elementary's new hall monitor, and it's turning out to be a bigger job than he bargained for. As the janitor, Mr. Nekobi, explains, the school is alive, evil, and very hungry. It's up to Sam and his friends Lucy and Antonio to stop the school before it unleashes its fury on the unsuspecting students. The school knows Sam is onto it, though, and won't go down without a fight!
This is the first book in Chabert's Eerie Elementary series, and it gets off to a quick and exciting start. As part of Scholastics "Branches" line of early chapter books, it's ideal for readers who are moving into chapter books but are still looking for bigger text and pictures throughout the book. The plot is fast-paced enough to capture the attention of even reluctant readers. Sam Rick's illustrations help bring the story to life, with gnashing vending machine teeth, dark and intimidating hallways, and enough creepy touches to give readers a delightful chill without inducing nightmares.
Readers just beginning to explore chapter books will want to check out other Branches offerings, such as Tracey West's Dragon Masters series or Troy Cumming's Notebook of Doom series. Fans of the monstrous school will also enjoy books from the Dr. Roach's Monstrous Stories series, by Paul Harrison.