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MG Review: Professor Gargoyle (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1) by Charles Gilman

Robert hopes this new year at a new school will be different, but he has no idea just how different it will be.

“Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is the spine-tingling series about a haunted middle school where monsters roam the halls, mysteries lurk behind every door, and strange transformations take place before your very eyes.” – from the official website, Lovecraft Middle School

In fact, the only familiar face at Lovecraft Middle School is his former tormentor, Glenn, and what promises to be a different year starts out quite the same – with Glenn throwing gummy bears at him in an assembly.  But when Robert is approached by Karina and told to stick up for himself, he gets his first glimpse of what may be wrong with Lovecraft Middle School.

Lovecraft Middle School is made out of recycled materials, the only problem is – they may have recycled a haunted house.  Oops.  There are no shortage of strange happenings, from a rat infestation to a giant squid coming out of Robert’s locker.  But the strangest thing of all may be who Robert finds on his side as he tries to fight off the supernatural powers that roam the hallways.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0sYsb46INo]

Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is a quick, fun read for fans of Goosebumps or the TV series My Babysitter’s a Vampire (Disney channel).  It has just enough tension to keep you on the edge of the seat, but no real gore or nightmare inducing scenes.  Well, a teacher does turn into a monster and eat a hamster whole.  Okay, and they enter into an alternate dimension full of thousands of spiders.  Actually, there is just enough creep factor to make you at least peek under the bed before going to sleep.  The tween and I read it together out loud and she is not into horror, but she was intrigued and liked it.

There are some pencil line illustrations that will help bridge the gap for those moving from chapter books to middle grade fiction.  Each edition of the series comes with a fun morpho cover that gives you a sneak peek at the horrors that await inside.  This series should be a hit with MG readers, and when they are ready to move onto a little bit meatier of a title, put The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire LeGrand or Coraline by Neil Gaiman into their hands.

The exquisite corpse art game would be a perfect tie-in for this series.  And writing classes could encourage readers to take their own tale from Lovecraft Middle School.

Professor Gargoyle.  Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1.  By Charles Gilman.  Published by Quirk books.  ISBN: 978-59474-591-1. A discussion guide is available.

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