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Review: Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

3 Aug

Janitors by Tyler Whitesides
Shadow Mountain (August 2011)
Hardcover: $17.95 (Get it at B&N today for $9.89)
ISBN: 978-1-60908-056-3

Favorite Lines: “You just went to the bathroom and you haven’t washed your hands yet.” (p. 18, ARC)

Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it’s draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelveyear- old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy “Gullible” Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers. Who can Spencer and Daisy trust and how will they protect their school and possibly the world? Janitors is book 1 in a new children’s fantasy series by debut novelist Tyler Whitesides. You’ll never look at a mop the same way again.

Tyler Whitesides has taken a common childhood issue and transformed it into a fantastical journey filled with excitement and lessons.  Kids won’t even realize the basic life lessons which are being reinforced in the entertaining story about two kids learning there is more to life than what you see.

Not only does Janitors have a great cover, but it is a well-written, imaginative story. The main character is Spencer. A boy who is dealing with the craziness of living with his siblings in his aunt’s house after his father walked out on the family. The poor kid attends a new school and is the unfortunate target of the elementary school’s bully Dez. His unfortunate exposure to a magical concoction allows him to see monstrous creatures running around the school, but it also makes him an even bigger target for Dez.

After an incident with Dez, Spencer learns a valuable life lesson from his classmate and soon-to-be partner, Daisy.

No one will ever believe you if you don’t stand up for what you know is true.

That statement colors the entire book in different ways. The best part is that the hero learns just standing up for what he believes doesn’t automatically equal a positive result. However it does build character, self-confidence and self-respect.

I read Janitors with my 8-year-old and she enjoyed it. Together we ewwwed at a gross bathroom scene (you’ll know it when you read it). I cheered as Spencer’s mother lost the frazzled, stressed out woman role and became a strong, go-with-the-flow mama bear. I enjoyed Janitors and hope you like reading about the magical, secret society of janitors, too.

Pick it up today and let me know what you think.