Creature Teacher Goes Wild by Sam Watkins is the second in a series of books about Creature Teacher, the first of which is simply titled Creature Teacher, and which I have yet to read. This second book was sent to me by Amazon Vine in exchange for my unbiased review. That’s what follows:
Firstly, you do not have to have read Creature Teacher to make sense of this second book. The premise is simple. Jake Jones and his friends have the best teacher in the world, Mr. Hyde. He is fun, interesting and protects them from the horrible head teacher Mrs. Blunt, who is only really interested in herself and erecting giant statues of herself. Anything that doesn’t fit in with Mrs. Blunt’s plans is punishable by work on the school rockery. School can be more like prison, except for those who are lucky enough to be in Jake’s class.
The only problem with Mr. Hyde is that he can turn into a creature when he gets over excited, or frightened. The creature that he turns into emits noxious farts and delights in creating absolute mayhem wherever he goes. Jake and his friends work together to try and contain some of Creature’s worst excesses, and hide the problem from Mrs. Blunt, who is just looking for an excuse to sack Mr. Hyde.
In this second book, the whole school are off to Wilf’s Wild Adventure Theme Park for the day. They have been invited there by the reclusive billionaire, Wilf, to test the park out. Mrs. Blunt’s aims are twofold, to find an excuse to get rid of Mr. Hyde and to persuade the elusive Wilf that he would like to donate to her statue scheme. The children have other ideas.
Unfortunately it doesn’t take too long at the park before Mr. Hyde turns into Creature, and the children dash from adventure to adventure in the different zones of the park trying to keep him under control and turn him back into Mr. Hyde again before Mrs. Blunt finds out.
The story is very funny, and the idea of setting it in the different zones of the theme park gives the author huge scope to get lots of different mini adventures going within the one narrative, which I thought was very clever, and will appeal to readers who love fast paced, ever evolving narratives.
The illustrations by David O’Connell are great. Black and white cartoon style drawings work well with the feel of the book, and I enjoyed the double page spread illustrations particularly. There were certain elements that reminded me of Nick Sharratt’s work, in a positive way. I loved the humour and energy of the artwork.
This is a great transitional book, lots of illustrations, lots of humour and short chapters make it perfect for readers aged 7-11. Jake’s gang are made up of a good mix of boy and girl characters, all of whom get their moment in the limelight, so it would work well for both boy and girl readers. It would also make a great, fun book to read to younger children either in class or as a bed time story over a few weeks.
My son will love this book, when he’s worked through his own massive to read pile, and I predict that we will be scouting out the first book in the series when he’s finished this. There is a third book already trailed in the end papers of this book, so it looks set to be an ongoing series if you find yourself hooked by the adventures of Creature.