cover image Hyde and Shriek

Hyde and Shriek

David Lubar, illus. by Marcos Calo Berm%C3%BAdez. Tor/Starscape, $14.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3081-9

The first book in the Monsterrific Tales series is narrated by Miss Clevis, a science teacher who accidentally puts chemicals for a school experiment in her breakfast drink. At school, when a colleague gives Miss Clevis a gift, she has waves of dizziness and transforms into Jackie, her positive-thinking 11-year-old self. She is soon befriended by a bubbly student named Dawn, who assumes Jackie is new at school. But an encounter with a mean teacher triggers another change: Miss Clevis becomes Ms. Hyde, a mean-spirited substitute teacher who delights in tormenting her students. Lubar's plotting can grow a bit repetitive as Miss Clevis shifts from one persona to the other, bringing out the best in people (as Jackie) and the worst in them (as Ms. Hyde). Though the novel offers some musings on good and evil, Lubar (the Weenies series) puts the emphasis on comedy, not chills, in a story that slots nicely between The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Miss Nelson Is Missing! Berm%C3%BAdez gives the story a cinematic sense of drama in his b&w spot illustrations. Ages 8%E2%80%93up. (Jan.)