Ms. Jenkins Is Missing: Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall
ON A WINDY DAY IN LATE OCTOBER, MS. JENKINS' CLASS ARRIVED TO FIND A SURPRISE AT SCHOOL.
"SUBSTITUTE TEACHER TODAY!!" ANNOUNCED PEYTON.
The class is jubilant. The worst-behaved kids in class prep their provisions for the unfortunate sub. Paper airplanes are prepared; soppy snacks are pulled out of backpacks; and a box of tacks for the unfortunate teacher's seat is readied. Even the well-behaved students sit back and get ready to watch the show. And then....
"GOOD MORNING TO YOU! MY NAME IS MR. CREACHER.
MS. JENKINS HAS ASKED ME TO STEP IN AS TEACHER.
SHE CLAIMS THIS CLASS HAS GROWN OUT OF HAND."
Behind sweet Ms. Jenkins' desk is a creature of a teacher all right--green and scaly, with one giant cyclopsian eye in the center of his so-called face and a tentacled body stuffed into a sensible brown suit. And lest little Luke should plan to persist in his tack caper, Mr. Creacher's ugly head does a 180 to show off the array of bulging eyeballs in its backside.
This petrifying pedagogue wastes no time in launching into his own string of cautionary tales of misbehaving kids who thought they could game the system. There was Sarah, for example, whose sloppy desk grew so overstuffed that the subsequent explosion blew her away. Undeterred by Mr. Creacher's tales. though, Gavin and Amanda continue passing notes and pulling pranks right under his eye, so Creacher begins his grimmest story yet:
"AT LAST THERE WAS CHRIS, A MISCHIEVOUS SORT.
WITH A FONDNESS FOR THIEVING, I'M AFRAID TO REPORT.
BUT THEN HE STOLE CANDY FROM A MAGICAL GNOME.
NOW THE TRICK WAS ON CHRIS. HE COULD NEVER GO HOME."
"WHY?" WHISPERED PEYTON.
"'TILL HE REPAID HIS DEBT A CREACHER HE WOULD BE.
AND BY NOW YOU SHOULD NOTE, THAT MONSTER IS ME."
Not since Miss Viola Swamp reported for sub duty in Harry Allard's and James Marshall's classic, Miss Nelson Is Missing!, has a good class gone bad got its attitude adjusted with so many laughs along the way as in Chris Gall's comic tale for the upcoming scary season, Substitute Creacher (Little Brown, 2011).
In clever rhyming text and appropriately comic illustrations, this bunch of elementary miscreants get the substitute teacher they deserve with plenty of fun along the way. In the words of Booklist's critic, who gave the book a hard-to-earn starred review, this one is "a delicious little shocker of a picture book that ought to whip... crowd[s] of youngsters into a shrieking, laughing frenzy."