Professor Gargoyle is the first book in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series written by Charles Gilman. It is a VERY fun , a little creepy, and equally cute middle grade book. Anyone else remember The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series? They had stories like Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots and Werewolves Don’t Go To Summer Camp. Tales from Lovecraft Middle School reminded me of those types of stories except with a more paranormal and fun twist. In a way, they’re like a modern day Goosebumps!
The main character of the series is a boy named Robert Arthur who is a victim of redistricting. At the beginning of the new school year, all of his friends will go to Franklin Middle School on the north side of town while Robert must attend the new Lovecraft Middle School on the south side of town. He knows no one there except for Glenn Torkells who is the bully who has tormented him practically forever. Lovecraft Middle School has its perks though as it is a completely new school with new classrooms, new equipment, and a gigantic new library with never been touched books. Yet things aren’t exactly as they seem at the school. There are rats in the brand new lockers — and there are some very strange teachers — and children seem to be disappearing left and right! And that is only the beginning…
Side note #1: HOW AWESOME IS THIS COVER?!? So cool!
Professor Gargoyle is a really quick paced story. I felt like I was being taken on a journey with Robert as he attempted to uncover what was really going on at his new school. There is just enough detail where you can picture what is happening but it still in a way leaves you with the ability to imagine the story in your mind as you would like. There are also some really engaging illustrations created by illustrator Eugene Smith through out the book which really help the characters and the storyline come to life. I really do think that all the images were one of my favorite parts of reading the story. They made it so much fun!
Another thing I really enjoyed about Professor Gargoyle was the way that Charles Gilman brought in the insecurities of a young boy trying to fit into a new school. It was all very realistic feeling. Also, the fact that there was a “bully” in the story, I think will make it very relatable to middle grade readers. I especially loved how all of this was blended in with the magic of the school. Magic is a pretty big part of the school but the magic doesn’t necessarily come from just the characters. The location and the setting are also very important to the story. There are definitely some H.P. Lovecraft undertones in the story as well which were fascinating. Oh, and the ending is a fabulous cliffhanger which sets up the second book in the series PERFECTLY!
Side note #2: AND HOW AWESOME IS THIS COVER?!? Once again, so cool!
Book number two is called The Slither Sisters, and it really continues with the magic and fun of series. I don’t want to say too much about it because I’m afraid I will wind up giving away spoilers. I can say though that the second book in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series is not a slump! I was able to read this book in one sitting, and truly enjoyed it. Just like with the first book in the series, Charles Gilman refuses to talk down to the reader, and instead allows them to use their imagination while still instilling how important reading is for the mind. It is cute, and spellbinding and entertaining, and I’m really looking forward to the third book in the series called Teacher Pest which comes out in May 2013!
Disclosure: Received for review from the publisher for an honest review.
Other reviews of the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series by Charles Gilman:
A Bookish Way of Life: “Tales From Lovecraft Middle School is a must read for all fans of YA fiction – especially ones who enjoy captivating reads about monsters, different dimensions, and middle school dramas!”