No one takes Spencer Zumbro seriously when he tried to warn his classmates about the mysterious things prowling the halls and classrooms of Welcher Elementary School. But when he sees Marv, the janitor, going after one of the creatures with a vacuum, he knows he’s not the only one who can see them.
With the help of his new friend, Daisy, Spencer has to find out what the janitors know. The children’s search uncovers the magic taking place behind the scenes of their seemingly ordinary school, where a battle is being waged for the minds of the students. Who can be trusted – and can Spencer and Daisy protect their school and possibly the world?
I cannot WAIT to introduce this book to grade 3 – 5 students. The very idea that there are creatures at school feeding off brain waves so they cannot learn will intrigue and delight – as well as provide a number of new excuses as to why they are not paying attention or getting work done!
As a teacher I am on the lookout for novels to read to my students that have a lot of educational bang for my buck – there need to be cross curricular connections that can enhance other subjects the students are learning. While Janitors does not easily connect to social studies or math, it does contain many valuable lessons regarding character education that are of great value to students. The questions contained in the reading guide provide excellent conversation starters to engage children in conversations about bullies, internet safety, how to know when what someone is asking you to do is wrong, what kind of things to talk to parents about, why it is important to have hope, and more.
The main characters are a bit under developed for my liking, but the book was not written for me. Children will not notice and will easily relate to both Spencer and Daisy. I enjoyed how you were never sure which characters you could trust. Spencer and Daisy learned valuable lessons about listening to the warning voice in their heads and knowing when to ask for help from a trusted adult. I love the messages Janitors teaches children while keeping the story fun, fast-paced and safe. There were a few times where I thought the actions of some of the characters were a bit much and, at times, unwise. There would need to be extra (but brief) discussion with children around these actions. I am thrilled there are more books in the series – stayed tuned for reviews of books two and three!
I give this book 4 stars out of 5.
I want to especially thank Cheryl and Michelle at Shadow Mountain for all of the juggling they did to get the books to me during my move across the country. Their patience and extra effort was unexpected and greatly appreciated!
I received this book free from Shadow Mountain Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.