Professor Gargoyle, The Slither Sisters and Teacher's Pestby Charles Gilman (Website, Facebook)
Series: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School
Published by Quirk Books on September 25th 2012
Genres: Horror, Middle Grade
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Professor GargoyleStrange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing. The school library is a labyrinth of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very, very peculiar. Robert Arthurt knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!
With the help of some unlikely new friends, Robert discovers there's more to Lovecraft Middle School than meets the eye. Can he uncover the secrets of the school before it's too late?
The Slither SistersThis second novel in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series begins right where Professor Gargoyle ended. Seventh-grader Robert Arthur has discovered that two of his classmates are actually sinister snake-women in disguise. Even worse, his new middle school is full of “gates” to a terrifying alternate dimension – a haunted mansion full of strange spirits and monstrous beasts. For Robert to protect his teachers and classmates, he'll need to return to this haunted dimension with his best friends Glenn and Karina. Can they uncover the secrets of Lovecraft Middle School before it's too late?
The Slither Sisters features more bizarre beasts, more strange mysteries, and more adventure. It's perfect for readers ages 10 and up. Best of all, the cover features a state-of-the-art “morphing” photo portrait – so you can personally witness the sisters transforming into their slithering alter egos. You won't believe your eyes!
Teacher's PestDON'T BE FOOLED by his friendly smile, his perfect manners, or his shiny red apple. Student council president Howard Mergler is actually a sinister bug-monster in disguise—and he's summoning swarms of roaches, wasps, fleas, and head lice into the corridors of Lovecraft Middle School! Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur is the only student who can stop him--but he'll need help from his best friends: the school bully, the school ghost, and an extremely courageous two-headed rat.
This third novel in the Lovecraft Middle School series begins right where Professor Gargoyle and The Slither Sisters ended—with more action, more adventure, and more outrageous monsters!
Happy Saturday, and welcome to the latest installment of our monthly feature
where we review Children’s books.
The Bell’s Ringing; School’s in Session
Quirk Books is a publisher I’ve learned to trust for books that epitomize their name; edgy, different but always thoroughly enjoyable. And the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series is a perfect example of the kind of stories they bring to the marketplace!
When we meet Robert at the beginning of this series in Professor Gargoyle we find him facing a typical problem, one no less painful for it’s commonality: the new kid in school with not a friend in sight. However, typical and Robert part ways soon after the opening-day-of-school pep-rally.
In Professor Gargoyle we see the premise of the series laid out: Robert’s school is inextricably linked to a creepy, old, supposedly dead, scientist, Crawford Tillinghast, who was known for trying to tinker with the universe. This link causes strange beings to populate the school, and one can never tell when a normal day will morph into an adventure filled one, complete with a giant, squid populated, vortex of horror opening up to suck some unsuspecting victim to their doom. But Robert’s not alone. With two unlikely friends (or is it four when you factor in the two-headed rat that befriends him early on?), Robert learns he’s more than able to meet the challenges of his new school.
The Slither Sisters continue immediately where Professor Gargoyle leaves off, finding Robert and his friends facing off a new, even more insidious threat to the school populous. It also brings us further into the shadow world that exists parallel to the school. We learn more about Tillinghast’s work and what it’s implications are for the school. Robert also has to move fully out of his shy-kid role and prove that, even though he doesn’t feel like a prototypical hero, he’s got what it takes to save the school and his friends.
The third installment of the series, Teacher’s Pest, continues close on the heels of The Slither Sisters. Robert can’t seem to catch a break, as new problems crop up no sooner than the old ones are solved. Added to that is the fact that his friends, Glenn and Karina, are acting strange and aloof. What is Robert to do when the companions he’s had by his side all along start to step away? In this book, Robert’s tested from inside his circle of trust and without, but with imagination, hard-work and determination, he makes it through and discovers along the way that his friends are more complex that he could have previously imagined.
Horror + Fantasy = Awesome!
Page after page, this series is pure pleasure to read. The horror is very light (as you would imagine given it’s Middle Grade genre), focusing more on the paranormal-creepy factor than blood and gore. Still, it’s no less well thought out, plotted or paced for it’s milder nature. These stories are fantastic. Superbly crafted, fitting together seamlessly but easily standing alone, the books in the Lovecraft Middle School series draw the reader in and propel them into a fantastical world.
Additionally these characters are so visceral! Robert is so easy to relate to. He’s got more mundane problems than a school filled with horrors. He’s trying to survive 7th grade! He starts off friendless, awkward and unsure of himself. By the third book in the series, he doesn’t emerge a rock-star, fully confident and sure of himself, but certainly has learned he’s not what he thought of himself when the school year began. He has friends and capabilities he never would have guessed at.
What’s My Grade? A+ All The Way!
I absolutely enjoyed this series and I would highly recommend it to your Middle Grade reader looking for something different. It’s fun, fascinating and filled with vocabulary building words (hello, “fetid”!) and easily digestible but complicated themes that will leave your reader thinking, imagination ablaze. And bottom line, they’re just fun books!
Listen To The Teacher
Get your own audiobook at Audible: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School, 1-3 (unabridged, 8hrs 23min)
I adored the audiobook version of this book! The narrator, Kristoffer Tabori, did a fabulous job bringing all of these characters, particularly the monsters, to life and if you’re going on a road trip as the end of the summer comes close, definitely consider bringing Robert and the gang with you in the car!
Quirk Books generously provided the first two books in this series for review, but since I listened to them, they’re in perfectly pristine shape for a give-away! So tell me what most intrigues you about this series? The fresh direction in Middle Grade fiction? Have you always been a fan of Lovecraftian horror? Just dying to see these lenticular covers in action? (I will admit, they’re DARN cool!) Let me know and you’re entered to win! Rack up extra entries along the way, too!