Thursday, October 2, 2008


By Chris Wilson


RELATED ARTICLE: An Interview with Capstone Press on Interactive CD’s

AUTHOR: Scott Nickel
ILLUSTRATOR: Steve Harpster
PUBLISHER: Stone Arch Press
GENRE: Horror, Science fiction

FORMAT: Reinforced library binding
PAGES: 48 pages
COLOR: Full color
ISBN 10: 1-59889-035-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-59889-035-8

The fourth grade students have a substitute teacher, but something is just not right. Luckily for Trevor, he had to use the restroom. When he got back to class the other children had all been turned into zombies who … loved homework. He realizes things are bad when his best friend, Bo, would rather do math than play video games. It is up to Trevor to figure out how to save his best friend, save the rest of the class, and get to the bottom of the mysterious evil substitute teacher.

I gave this to my 7-year-old second grader and she powered through it. She is a good reader though, averaging 45-55 books per month. I gave it to her while she was reading in bed. She took it, read it and gave it right back. I asked her what she thought of it she laughed and said: “It was funny.” There you have it from the mouth of a honest-to-goodness kid in the recommended age range.

The art is very child-centered. There are only 2-3 panels per page, the inking is heavy, the colors bright, and the panel movement is straightforward.

My Rating: Ages 6-10
Publisher’s Reading Level: Grades 1-3
Publisher’s Interest Level: Grades 3-5

Guided Reading Level: K
Lexile: 350L
ATOS Level: 2.3
AR Quiz: 103434
Dewey: 741.5

There is nothing of concern, unless the subject of zombies is a problem.

Many students really enjoy scary stories about creatures and such. This is the perfect opportunity for comic monsters.

The teacher has access to an interactive CD, where the entire book can be projected onto a screen and read as a whole-class activity. A Reader’s Theater is also available, which could be a lot of fun for children.

Right off the bat, the reader is given a clue as to Mr. Winklepoof’s real identity: “I am Mr. Winklepoof, a genuine substitute teacher and not an escaped mad scientist wanted by the law.” The children should pick up on that and make the connection that they should be skeptical of Mr. Winklepoof. They should refer back to the title, his strange statement about not being a mad scientist, and then make predictions about what might occur in the story.

NIGHT OF THE HOMEWORK ZOMBIES can come with Reader’s Theatre and an interactive CD. An interesting tidbit is that the book is constructed with at least 10 percent post-consumer waste, a teaching opportunity for those teachers who are concerned with the environment.

This is a great comic for the emerging young reader and struggling elementary reader. It is funny and appropriately written for a young audience.

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