Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Review: 'Substitute Creature' by Charles Gilman

✰✰✰✰½ Middle school students Robert Arthur, Glenn Torkells, and Karina Ortiz, the school ghost, have returned in the fourth installment of the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series. Lovecraft Middle School is not just any ordinary school. It was built upon the remains of Tillinghast Mansion, the home of renowned mad scientist Crawford Tillinghast. The school grounds contain hidden portals to other dimensions, and the school itself is teeming with demons, monsters, creatures, and an assortment of creepy crawly insects. While seventh graders Robert and Glenn have survived several near-death experiences over the past few months, nothing can prepare them for their current adventure.

It’s Valentine’s Day and the school has a special treat for the students; it’s a surprise concert. When Glenn notices that the choir robes look mysteriously like the garments worn by Tillinghast’s servants, they find themselves stepping through another portal and into a new adventure. Just then a blizzard suddenly descends upon their town trapping Robert and a few others inside. Faced with freezing temperatures, little food, and no electricity, the trio of friends must confront a mysterious substitute teacher and the most frightening monsters they have encountered so far. Before all is said and done, Robert will be faced with the most difficult choice of his life, and their lives will be changed forever.

The Bottom Line: The fourth book in the series is just as fun and full of adventure as the previous installments. Authentic characters and dialogue make this book appealing to both boys and girls in grades 4 – 7. Author Charles Gilman expertly weaves the themes of friendship and teamwork into the story. While illustrator Eugene Smith’s black and white pencil drawings are spot-on.

Although there are references to the previous adventures, young readers can dive right into this installment without having read the other books in order. This very quick read is highly recommended for kids who enjoy monsters, horror, and adventure fiction.  For more creepy fun, check out Lovecraft Middle School.

Details: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #4: Substitute Creature written by Charles Gilman & illustrated by Eugene Smith. Hardcover published by Quirk Books in 2013. 176 p. ISBN: 978-1-59474-614-7 Note: I received a copy from Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.

No comments: