Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies ~ Bruce Hale review [@storyguy1 @CassieMcGinty @DisneyHyperion]

Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies: A Monstertown Mystery
Disney Hyperion
March 07, 2017
208 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

How well do you know the lunch servers at your school? Sure, they seem like nice people, but what if secretly they are something much, much weirder?

Best friends Carlos and Benny, who just saved their teacher from becoming a were-hyena, have been called upon to investigate the strange goings-on in the cafeteria. Why are the lunch ladies suddenly so grumpy? Why are the girls' meals different from the boys'? And what was that thing seen scuttling around the kitchen wearing an apron?

It's going to require a lot of courage--and more than an industrial size can of Raid--for the boys to avoid extermination in this buggy adventure.

I have to admit that Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies was a book that I did not know about prior to receiving it in the mail. So, you may not know about it, either . . . but you want to!

Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies is the second Monstertown Mystery, following 2016's The Curse of the Were-Hyena and features fourth grade best friends Carlos and Benny. This book does reference a were-hyena, that it was their teacher and that Benny and Carlos saved the day, but not much beyond that. It lets readers know that this isn't the friends' first encounter with something other than human, but doesn't spoil that story. (This works just fine as a standalone book.)

The story is told to us by Carlos and author Bruce Hale does a fantastic job capturing how a fourth grade boy might see things; it doesn't feel like an adult's idea of a a kid, but like a kid.

There are a ton of similes in this book and they're crazy and hilarious and odd but not absurd. Each of them somehow really fits what's being described and as a whole they really make Carlos's character and the story special.  (Like "...Shaking like guava jelly on the San Andreas fault." pg 118)

The supernatural elements to this story (and, I think, the Monstertown Mysteries) is light enough to fit both the age range and the tone of the story. (Though so many bugs!) Yet, there's enough reason behind all of the 'why' and the solutions that it makes sense and is satisfying.

I may not have known about this book (or series) prior to getting Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies but it was a fun read and has me interested in both the first book (The Curse of the Were-Hyena) and the next (Invasion of the Scorp-Lions).

(Also? The cover with its lenticular print is super fun.)

finished copy received from publisher for review

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