This tongue-in-cheek superheroine graphic novel series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (ages 7 – 9) will hit the spot for chapter-book readers. Inspired by his own very lunch lady from childhood, Krosoczka has created a zany series that makes you sort of wish you were a crime fighting lunch lady.
In Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute we find Lunch Lady and Betty, her assistant, in both the cafeteria and her role of wrong-righting super-sleuth. They investigate the strange case of an absent teacher, his creepy substitute, and a plan to grab the “Teacher of the Year” Award by truly foul means.
Three kids join in the action as Lunch Lady, equipped with a variety of high-tech kitchen gadgets like a spatu-copter and a lunch-tray laptop, tracks a cleverly disguised robot to his maker’s lab, where a whole army of cyborgs require kicking, stomping, and the wielding of fish-stick nunchucks.
Yellow-highlighted pen-and-ink cartoons are as energetic and smile-provoking as Lunch Lady’s epithets of “Cauliflower!” and Betty’s ultimate weapon — the hairnet.
There’s a nice twist in the surprise ending, and the kids’ ability to stand up to the school bully shows off their newfound confidence in a credible manner. Little details invite and reward repeat readings.
So far there are five in the series, but a Lunch Lady’s work is never done, so my guess is we should expect more to come. Two of my favs are —
In Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians, Lunch Lady uncovers what darkness lurks in the hearts of the school librarians.
In Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown, a swamp monster threatens to ruin summer camp.