cover image Substitute Creacher

Substitute Creacher

Chris Gall. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-08915-9

Six unruly children are in for a shock when a green-speckled, one-eyed, tentacled monster (wearing a neat brown suit) shows up as their substitute teacher. Mr. Creacher also has three eyes on the back of his head, the better to intercept the inevitable tack-on-the-chair prank. He speaks in rhymes%E2%80%94encased in slimy-looking voice bubbles%E2%80%94and informs his disorderly students that, over 49 years, "I've collected some tales/ whose lessons are grave/ about boys and girls/ who didn't behave." He calmly launches into brief cautionary tales of children whose deeds bring big trouble. A glue-eater sticks to everything he touches, a doodler's dragon comes alive, and%E2%80%94worst of all%E2%80%94a boy (named Chris) steals from classmates and is transformed into a monster: " 'Til he repaid his debt,/ a creacher he'd be./ And by now you should know:/ That monster is me." Gall (Dinotrux) illustrates in explosive, cinematic panels; retro Ben-Day dot patterns allude to classic funnies. If the dire warnings fail to inspire repentance, Mr. Creacher's dilemma%E2%80%94and a conclusion that breaks the spell%E2%80%94may warm the cold hearts of defiant substitute baiters. Ages 3%E2%80%936. (July)