Picture Book Review: Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall


Title: Substitute Creacher

Author: Chris Gall

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 978-0316089159


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The troublemaking students of Ms. Jenkins’ class arrive at school one day to discover a substitute creacher has come to put a stop to their monkey business! He regales them with mind-boggling stories about his former students who didn’t follow the rules: Keith the glue-eater, Zach the daydreamer, and Hank the prankster, to name a few. But even this multi-tentacled, yellow-spotted, one-eyed monster’s cautionary tales about the consequences of mischief-making can’t seem to change the students’ wicked ways until he reveals the spookiest and most surprising story of all: his own.

Chris Gall’s vibrant artwork leaps off the page with a dynamic comic book aesthetic that will grab both parents and monster-loving kids!


I love the premise of Substitute Creacher.  Ms. Jenkins’ class is full of very naughty and very unrepentant children.  One day in late October, these misbehaving kids discover a surprise – they are going to have a substitute teacher!  Nothing prepares them for the creacher – er, teacher – who lumbers through the door.  Mr. Creacher is green, he has eight legs, and he has eyes in the back of his head. Literally!  Will he be able to gain control of Ms. Jenkins unruly class?

While I loved the art, the rhyming prose seemed a little forced, and it didn’t flow smoothly.  Mr. Creacher tries some tough love on his misbehaving children, sharing with them the fates of previous delinquents he’s taught over the years.  There was the boy who brought a shark to class,  the sad, sad tale of Keith, a boy who wouldn’t stop eating glue, as well as a few other miscreants who were so naughty that they met with a dreadful end. 

Mr. Creacher’s portfolio of rascals is amusing, and the prose is lively and humorous.  The rhymes didn’t always work for me, but the illustrations make this book a winner.  The large, eye-catching pictures chronicle the fates of previous naughty kids in vivid, action-packed panels that are reminiscent of a vintage comic book.  Boys will eat this book up.  The light horror elements and comic mayhem will keep them engaged to the end of the story.

Grade: B-

Review copy provided by publisher