Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a fun middle grade book that's the start of a new brand-new series!
a) Flee in terror?
b) Try to cure him?
c) Bring him carrion snacks?
Mr. Chu, the coolest teacher ever, has developed some very unusual habits, like laughing hysterically for no reason, sniffing people’s homework, and chasing chickens. When best friends Carlos and Benny decide to find out what’s happening to him, they get caught up in some moonlight madness. And it looks like just the beginning of the weirdness that has arrived in the town of Monterrosa. . . . This first entry in a silly, sassy, and suspenseful new series will leave readers howling with laughter. -- Disney Hyperion
I know you shouldn't judge a book but its cover, but in the case of THE CURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA by Bruce Hale, it's a pretty good idea. This book cover isn't quite what it first appears. The cover changes depending on how you move the book. It can look like the were-hyena as pictured above or the teacher who changes into the were-hyena. Too cute!
THE CURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA is the first book in the Monstertown Mystery series, and I think it's a great start. At first, I thought this book might be fun for youngsters... but for me, not so much. However, I was pleasantly surprised by just how entertaining this book was.
THE CURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA tells the story of two kids, Carlos and Benny, whose teacher turns into a were-hyena! Mr. Chu is a teacher and he's adored by his students. However, one day he starts acting very funny. Out of the blue, he laughs hysterically and has terrific reflexes, and his sense of smell seems to be in overdrive. Carlos and Benny know something is up and want to get to the bottom of the strange new incidents that are occurring in their hometown.
With the help of the owner of the comic store (an ex-wrestler who now gets around in a wheelchair), they realize that Mr. Chu was bit by a were-hyena and will become one if he's not cured before the next full moon.
I admit I was skeptical -- I'm not the biggest fan of fantasy, but THE CURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA was adorable. It was extremely funny and also a bit of a mystery, and the main characters are totally likable (and diverse!) I'm pretty certain that middle grade readers are going to love it! Thankfully, it's the first book in a new series so I have a feeling readers will get to see more of Carlos and Benny and some very strange creatures!
As a mom, I just loved the creativity of the story. Since the boys (and one special African American karate girl) were in a crunch to save their favorite teacher, the scenes were action-packed and full of many strange twists. I will also tell you that there are enough typical boy jokes (you know what that means!) to keep the laughs coming!
As cute as this book was, I love love love that there is a discussion guide that is aligned to common core standards. I have a feeling if students could read books like this as part of school, many more would love reading. There are also some cute activities including a mask and a fun quiz!
THE CURSE OF THE WERE-HYENA is a great start to what is sure to be a very fun series for middle grade readers!
- Ten winners will receive a copy of Bruce Hale’s The Curse of the Were-Hyena.
- Four Grand Prize winners will receive The Curse of the Were-Hyena plus an advance reading copy of the second book in the series, Mutant Mantis Lunch Ladies!
- And as a bonus, Grand Prize winners will also get a signed photo of Bruce Hale disguised as a were-wolf!
Thanks to Blue Slip Media for providing a review copy of this novel.
If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!