Substitute teachers are the bomb! With a little creative thinking, students can turn a day of instruction into a day of chaos and fun. For example, students can pretend there was no homework yesterday, they can swear they don’t know what page they’re on in their math book, and students can write down names like Jim Shoe or Right Turn or Nothing Personal when the substitute circulates the sign-in sheet.
Fun? You bet! But what if, instead of a substitute teacher, the class gets a substitute creacher?
That’s what happens in author /illustrator Chris Gall’s latest over-sized hardcover picture book, Substitute Creacher. When Ms. Jenkins is out for the day, her unruly students giggle like mad scientists and get their boxes of tacks ready for the new teacher’s bottom. But they get more than they bargained for when Mr. Creacher walks in. This cycloptic substitute has green-skin, eight wiggly tentacles, and three – yes, three!– huge eyes in the back of his swamp-monster head.
But Mr. Creacher has not come to frighten the children, or even to eat them; he’s there to give them some guidance on how they should behave in class. He pulls out a stack of “case study photographs” describing various students he’s met in his 49 years of substitute teaching, and proceeds to tell the class how their horrid behavior brought dire consequences.
Substitute Creacher is loads of fun. The plot has a very unique twist, the prose is age-appropriate (and is also written partially in rhyme, since that’s the way Mr. Creacher speaks) and the drawings are a picture-lover’s dream. Gall pays wonderful attention to detail, right down to the outrageous expressions on the faces of the hyperactive students who are scrambling for something naughty to get into. The colors are done in a spooky brown-tone and orange, perfect colors for Halloween, which this book targets via its many references to tricks-and-treats.
For a hilarious twist on “substitute teacher day,” be sure to read Substitute Creacher. It’ll make you think twice about misbehaving.
Best wishes and happy reading,
PICTURE BOOK DEPOT