Title: Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions
Author: Sheila Grau
Published: March 17th 2015
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Length: 288 pages
I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon.
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Welcome to Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions, the premier trainer of minions for Evil Overlords everywhere. No student is prouder to be at Dr. Critchlore’s than Runt Higgins, a twelve-year-old werewolf. (At least he thinks he’s twelve. He was abandoned at the school as a baby, so he can’t say for sure.) Runt loves everything about Dr. Critchlore’s. He loves his classes—like History of Henchmen and Introduction to Explosives. He loves his friends—like Darthin the gargoyle and Syke the tree nymph. And he loves his foster family, who took him in when his wolf pack couldn’t.
But not everyone loves Dr. Critchlore’s as much as Runt. After a series of disasters, each worse than the next, it’s clear that someone is trying to shut the school down. It’s up to Runt, who knows the place better than anybody, to figure out who’s behind the attacks . . . and to save his home, and Dr. Critchlore himself, from total destruction.
I really enjoyed this book and I’m so glad that I found it. It was mentioned to me that this book is similar to one that I am writing (although mine is more from the ‘good’ side and not the ‘evil’ side – although these minions aren’t entirely evil!). It was fun, full of adventure and danger, and it got you thinking too.
Runt wants to prove himself at the school. He’s a powerful werewolf, but he has trouble changing and so he’s always put in the dorm with other, more human type minions. When he finds himself in the coveted Junior Henchman team, he can’t believe his luck… until he finds out that the team has been over-filled (once again!) and he’ll have to fight his way through several trials to actually gain a spot.
Pismo is a new student who has a mean streak, getting Runt into trouble and detention for the first time ever. Runt’s keeping an eye on him though, especially when strange ‘accidents’ start happening around the school and the very real threat of school closure looms over them.
I loved the dynamic between Runt and his friends, he was very much the leader of their little group, even if he didn’t realise it. All of the characters were great, very unique and yet very recognisable in terms of classic ‘monsters’.
I loved the ending, how everything was neatly tied up and revealed. It was very cleverly done and I honestly hadn’t expected it. A fantastic debut, with stunning illustrations that really helped to bring the story to life.
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About the Author
Sheila Grau grew up in an old house that had a secret closet nestled behind the bookshelves in the library. She was able to tuck herself into that little nook to ponder life’s mysteries, like how her mother knew she was dropping her broccoli to the dog at dinnertime. (Answer: The dog didn’t like broccoli, either, and spit it out on the floor.) Through the years, one mystery in particular seemed to have no answer: Where do evil overlords get their minions? Unable to find an answer, she thought it would be fun to make one up. Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions is her first book.
Sheila currently lives in Northern California with her husband and four children and, sadly, no minions.