Substitute Creacher

K-Gr 2—Misbehaving kids meet their substitute—a one-eyed, green-tentacled monster that spouts rhyming cautionary tales of mischievous miscreants. There's Keith, who ate so much glue that random objects started sticking to him; Sara, who stuffed her desk so full of junk that it eventually exploded; Chris, a bully who stole candy from other kids and as punishment was turned into…the monster they see before them. As he gives away the last of the candy he stole long ago, the Substitute Creacher sheds his green skin, turning back into a boy and returning to his long-lost home in the past. Gall's illustrations are colorful and catchy with their comic-book style, but the tone of the text veers wildly from gleeful cautionary tale to maudlin sob story, and the result doesn't quite gel.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
At first the story's misbehaving students don't flinch at the appearance of their substitute "creacher," a green multi-tentacled type who speaks in lugubrious rhyme. But when he shares the fates of former students that he punished for misdeeds, the kids start gulping and the cartoony art gets fiendish. The final twist of this teacher-creature story line earns an A-plus.

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