Wednesday, January 16, 2013
by David Lubar
Starscape (January 2012)
Ages 8 and up
With typical David Lubar flair, his latest offering—Hyde and Shriek: A Monsterific Tale—promises a screaming good time with its fast-past delivery and no-holds barred, attention-grabbing narration, beginning with its delightfully creepy opening confession: "I love kids. They make great hood ornaments." So says the story's narrator, Ms. Jackie Clevis, an elementary school science teacher with a few...um...issues.
After accidentally infusing her breakfast drink with a personality-altering elixir, Ms. Clevis morphs into the best and worst versions of herself—an unnaturally sweet sixth grader (Jackie) and a genuine terror of a teacher who lives to cause misery for her students (Ms. Hyde). Both sides battle for control, but with Hyde's ability to gain strength from all the negativity she stirs up, the odds are stacked in her favor.
Hyde's scenes produce the sort of cringe-inducing, peek-through-your-fingers-oh-no-she-di'int reactions that make this a terrifically fun read. They also make it hard not to wonder if any real life teachers harbor similar feelings (I'm looking at you, Mrs. Schroeder, ya mean old bat.) Ms. Clevis is at risk of losing herself if she can't find a way to unite her two extreme sides (hey—maybe Congress needs to read this). It's up to the kids to put two and two—or, Jackie and Hyde—together and figure out how to save their teacher before she destroys them all.
Hyde and Shriek is Lubar's first tale in a new series of monster-morphing at Washington Irving Elementary. It's exactly the type of book I watch kids hunt through the book van hoping to find—a dash of danger with plenty of wicked humor—and when they do...the smiles on their faces are priceless. No doubt, legions of demented readers will love this book (and the series—so hurry it up, Lubar!).
Source: I bought my copy at Orca Books.