Robert Arthur is not excited about starting a new school. All his friends are going to a different middle school and even though Lovecraft Middle School is state of the art, he would rather be with his friends. Things only seem to get worse on his first day. His bully is at the school, he has zero friends, and all the lockers are full of white rats. Things finally seem to change when he gets to go to the school library. It is huge and full of secrets, including a secret attic where he finds his first friend, a two-headed rat he names Pip and Squeak. With Pip and Squeak, Robert learns a dangerous secret, one that could destroy the world and one involving his science teacher.
I think that the concept of going to middle school will appeal to 5th graders and that of the "monsters" of Lovecraft. I won't give too much away, but I think the mysteries of the school will keep readers interested in the series. The book was a quick read and the dialogue sounds natural to lower middle school students. The violence and scare factor are appropriate to upper elementary and lower middle school readers. As an adult, I liked the storyline and the you got to read the next one to find out ending.
Favorite Character: Robert is a likeable character. He is loyal to his friends, willing to forgive, and brave.
Favorite Quote: This is more of a description than quote. "The Lovecraft Middle School library was nearly as big as a gymnasium. A steel-and-glass ceiling arched grandly overhead, filling the room with a warm natural light. Huge bookshelves twisted along the perimeter like the walls of a labyrinth; it would be easy to get lost in them for hours at a time, Robert thought." Sounds like a good library to me!
I think this would be an interesting read for 5th grade and a good book to booktalk. 4 cups of cocoa.