|Curse of the were-hyena (Monstertown mystery)|
Author: Hale, Bruce
Book 1--When Mr. Chu, the coolest teacher ever, develops some very unusual habits and appears to be a monster, best friends Carlos and Benny investigate.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 6.0 Quiz: 183111
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 72154
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/16)
School Library Journal (05/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2016 Gr 3–6—In this first title of a new series by the author of the "Chet Gecko" mysteries, Carlos and Benny are worried by the strange behavior of their favorite teacher, Mr. Chu. What does it mean when your teacher's hair starts growing rapidly and he begins laughing hysterically and randomly bullying students? With a little research and some help from the local comic book store owner, the boys find out that their teacher is becoming a shape-shifter and, even worse, if they don't do something soon, his transformation into a were-hyena will become permanent. Hale sprinkles the story with occasional illustrations that reinforce the high jinks, humor, and occasional suspense. The ethnically diverse characters add to the accessibility of this fun middle grade mystery. - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2016 Your favorite teacher slowly transforming into a highly dangerous, flesh-eating monster is a pretty disappointing middle-school experience. Carlos and his best pal Benny are therefore determined to stop the process in its tracks after they realize that the usually awesome Mr. Chu is exhibiting classic “were-like” behavior, such as stinking like a wet dog, sprouting a thick mane of hair on his usually bald head, and nearly decapitating a chicken with his teeth. The owner of the local comic-book store educates the boys on further shapeshifting lore, including the fact that weres come in all different animals: were-sharks, were-panthers, and were-hyenas, which is what Mr. Chu, with his suddenly developed high-pitched laugh, seems to be. The kids have to find a way to tag the were-hyena that bit Mr. Chu, but there’s a host of suspects: the visiting lecturer from the local museum who knows a bit too much about shape shifters; the big, smelly guy the boys meet on the street one night; and basically anyone who has a gruff, angry demeanor. The boys zip from dangerous encounter to dangerous encounter, but their search is more chipper than chilling, making this an adventurous romp through the supernatural. Narrator Carlos’ worrywart persona makes an excellent foil to Benny’s carefree, risk-taking ways, and the rest of the characters-who are mainly there just to give the boys pertinent information-are eccentric and particularly diverse. This will appeal to readers looking for less creepy alternatives to R. L. Stine or a diverting take on more serious scary stories. KQG - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 08/01/2016 Mr. Chu, Carlos and Benny’s favorite teacher, has been acting a bit odd ever since being bitten by a weird dog. For instance, he sniffs students’ homework and has started laughing maniacally. Using their comic book smarts, the boys determine he is turning into a were-hyena. To save him, the boys brave everything from a secret spy mission at the local museum to stalking the potential alpha were-hyena in the graveyard in the middle of the night. With the help of Tina (aka Karate Girl), and Mrs. Tamasese, a former wrestler and the comic shop owner, Carlos and Benny dig into the mysterious secrets of their town, Monterrosa, which sounds suspiciously like “Monstertown.” Readers will appreciate the humorous, suspenseful adventures of the boys, while adults will praise Hale’s ability to create an enjoyable cast of diverse characters, including minorities and people with disabilities. Recommend to fans of quirky, low-key horror like Charles Gilman’s Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series. Kids will be eager for the second installment, which promises mutant mantis lunch ladies. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.