Vampire School: Teacher Screecher
By Peter Bently
Illustrated by Chris Harrison
When the kids at St. Orlok’s Elementary, a vampire school, learn that their beloved teacher, Miss Gargoyle, has bat flu, they wonder who their substitute teacher will be. They’ve heard good things about Miss Fitt, the Frankenstein monster-like substitute who shows up. So the kids are shocked when she turns out to be very mean and only interested in doing math. No more vampire history or menacing music for them. After school, some of the kids turn into their bat-selves and take matters in hand. They look for the reason Miss Fitt ended up so mean. They crawl into the school attic and discover the machine that charges her nastiness. One brave, young vampire hides and is able to use that knowledge to change her to sweet and nice.
Fourth in the “Vampire School” series, this enchanting volume is perfect for second graders. The language is simple enough for most children to read on their own, yet it doesn’t shy away from words that may need to be sounded out: excitement, brilliant, timetable, hypotenuse, etc. Also, it contains a lot of action and onomatopoeia – stomp, stomp, stomp – always crowd pleasers in second grade. These should increase comprehension and reading skills. The author includes a lot of plays on words and other humor to help win over the reader. In classic children’s book style, he allows the kids to solve their own problem. Readers can also learn a little about math, if they’re not careful.
The illustrations follow the same silly themes set up by the text. The expressions on the vampire and monster faces are priceless. It’s all very dark and vampire-like.