“What do you do when your favorite teacher starts turning into a were-hyena?” (1). That’s the question raised in The Curse of the Were-Hyena by Bruce Hale, the first in the new Monstertown Mystery series. Smart, silly, and intriguing, this middle-grade novel is an all-around fun time. “Forget about homework habits and curriculum goals – this is the kind of practical stuff they should cover in back-to-school orientation” (1).
Carlos and Benny are your average fourth grade best friends, “just regular, comics-nerd-type kids” with the best teacher in the whole school (61). Mr. Chu teaches in exciting and engaging ways and all of his students love him, that is, until he starts acting…strange. Mr. Chu begins growling at everyone, moving very quickly, and growing hair all over his usually bald head. After consulting their local comic shop owner, Carlos and Benny discover that their beloved teacher is becoming a were-hyena. So much for focusing on their Social Studies project this week.
With only a few days to find a cure for Mr. Chu’s transformation, the boys begin investigating around the town. Fortunately for them, they have a good time doing it. “‘You know,’ I said, ‘if we put this much effort into our homework, we’d probably be getting straight A’s.’ ‘And if the water fountains ran with chocolate milk,’ said Benny, ‘I’d drink two gallons a day. Get real, Carlos. Homework is never this much fun’” (28).
The story has as much wit and suspense as series’ like The Magic Treehouse series and the A to Z Mysteries series. With well-rounded characters of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, Bruce Hale’s new series seems to already be on par with these classic series’ of children’s adventures. The Curse of the Were-Hyena sounds silly, and it is, but it’s also full of fresh ideas and clever writing fit for every young fan of supernatural mysteries.
- Posted by Abriana