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|Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions|
Author: Grau, Sheila
[Book 1] At his boarding school for monsters, a young werewolf learns a devastating truth about his family while uncovering a plot to sabotage the world's finest training program for aspiring minions to evil overlords.
Dr. Critchlore's School For Minions, Bk. 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 174632
Kirkus Reviews (12/15/14)
School Library Journal (01/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Runt Higgins is a werewolf. Well, sort of. He swears he turned once when he was seven, but his canines just won't come in. Luckily, Runt attends Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions, where "Slow and steady wins the race, if you have minions to sabotage your opponent." In her debut, Grau introduces a contemporary fantasy world that is a perfect blend of Hogwarts and Monsters University. Readers learn quickly, however, that all is not well in minion-land. Something is amiss at the School, and Runt is sniffing out the trouble. Backed by a humorous band of friends—Syke the half-nymph, Eloni the troll, and Frank 25, who can't keep his head on straight (literally)—Runt is on a mission to expose the evildoers sabotaging his school. Dr. Critcholore's is well paced, despite an overly pat resolution, complete with twists, red herrings, and zombies. The narrative is sometimes distracted by an overuse of canine-inspired expletives ("Dog Whistles!"), and readers are likely to be skeptical of the just-add-water friendship that blossoms in the last few chapters, but the humor alone keeps this one going. If readers still need convincing, just turn to one of the fantastic illustrations of zombies. Recommended for advanced elementary school readers and reluctant middle graders, this will appeal to a wide audience.—Taylor Worley, Springfield Public Library, OR - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/01/2015 Runt Higgins is beginning his third year as a minion-in-training at the eponymous school, and his year is not getting off to an auspicious start. Nothing goes right for him: he serves serial detentions for tardiness; imps are making his life miserable; he has to herd zombies by whining at them; and his junior henchman trainee status is threatened by a competition to whittle the pool to five. Worse than that, a saboteur is attacking the school, and Runt, who was abandoned as a toddler at the school, is determined to protect the only home he has ever known. The plot thickens quickly as Runt and his friends race to unravel it. Grau keeps her readers guessing who the “big bad” is, and the answer may surprise them. Characters are drawn broadly and deftly in a matter-of-fact way and bring to mind cheesy but fun movies. The loopy cartoonlike illustrations highlight the story perfectly. Put this book to work with Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books or the H.I.V.E. series, by Mark Walden. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2015 As a proud resident of the School for Minions, Runt Higgins has been waiting for his chance to be a Junior Henchman, and it looks like it’s finally come, if he can just beat out the competition. It turns out there are bigger challenges, though: the formerly unrivaled training school seems to be coming apart at the seams, and Runt suspects that active sabotage is taking place as one disaster follows another in only a few months. Runt’s kindness sometimes works against him, and his latent werewolf abilities don’t seem to be waking up despite the danger he’s encountering; nonetheless, he has a stellar group of monster classmates and friends who adore him and want him to be happy, and he’s got a sharp brain under all that naïveté. Grau carefully develops all her characters, and this rich cast helps to establish the setting as much as the descriptions of the school itself; elements of hierarchy and power structures emerge seamlessly from the way the characters engage with one another and respond to school changes. Boarding school fantasy fans will flock to this new series, and it is refreshing to see one that features such a kind, amiable protagonist. Pair this with Vernon’s Castle Hangnail (reviewed below) for two looks at kids who muster their skills, ingenuity, and grit to save the place they love best. Amusing quotes from school ads and various monster textbooks begin each chapter, and occasional illustrations add humor to tense scenes. A map and illustrated character list help orient readers. AS - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.