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Review: The Creeps: Night of the Frankfrogs

Chris Schweizer, known for his Crogan Adventures, has switched gears and started a middle grade horror series. The Creeps will appeal to kids looking for a mix of adventure and fright. But no worries, readers will still be able to sleep with the lights off.

the creepsThe Creeps: Night of the Frankenfrogs
By Chris Schweizer.
Amulet Books. 2015. ISBN 9781419717666
PBK, $9.95. 122pp.
Grades 4 and up

Four middle school friends, known as “The Creeps,” work together to unravel supernatural mysteries in Pumpkin County. After a battle in the school’s cafeteria with a pudding monster, the four friends, Carol, Mitchell, Jarvis, and Rosario are forced to take over the janitor’s regular duties as he cleans up the mess in the cafeteria. It’s there that they come across the frogs that are to be dissected in science class. But then the frogs disappear—and reanimated frogs, which the four friends dub “Frankenfrogs,” appear and start hurting and zapping their classmates. Who is responsible for their appearance? Will they be able to stop them before it’s too late?

This book is full of action and adventure. There are enough frightful moments that readers will jump out of their seats as they read. The people are all drawn in a quirky manner and the color is used to offset the mood. So the scarier scenes have a darker color palette.

One of the things I really liked about how the story begins is probably also one of its weaknesses. I enjoy when a story starts in the middle and backtracks. The story opens after the attack of the pudding monster, and there’s an assumption that we understand who these four friends are. I would have thought there would be more exposition, but actually, the best explanation I got was from an interview I found online with Chris Schweizer, on the blog “Panel Patter.”

“The Creeps is about four very unpopular middle schoolers. They’re unpopular because they’re always uncovering these terrible monster plots, and everyone else in town wishes that they wouldn’t rock the boat. So they would have it a lot easier if they just let whatever terrible things were going to happen happen, but their consciences won’t let them. I’m hoping that the books are both funny and scary, that’s my goal.”

Unfortunately, I don’t feel like this explanation pulls its own within the storytelling itself. Even the principal calls them “The Creeps,” but we never get the sense of why through the story. Perhaps this will all be fleshed out in volume 2. And despite my quibble, I’m truly looking forward to the next volume.

This will be a definite hit with middle grade readers. It’s full of suspense, action, adventure, and enough humor to be the next book about which my students ask, “When does the next volume come out?”

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Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 3 and regularly reviews for SLJ, LMC. In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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