The Curse of the Were-Hyena

illus. by Bruce Hale. 224p. (Monstertown: Bk. 1). Disney-Hyperion. Jul. 2016. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781484713259. POP
Gr 3–6—In this first title of a new series by the author of the "Chet Gecko" mysteries, Carlos and Benny are worried by the strange behavior of their favorite teacher, Mr. Chu. What does it mean when your teacher's hair starts growing rapidly and he begins laughing hysterically and randomly bullying students? With a little research and some help from the local comic book store owner, the boys find out that their teacher is becoming a shape-shifter and, even worse, if they don't do something soon, his transformation into a were-hyena will become permanent. Hale sprinkles the story with occasional illustrations that reinforce the high jinks, humor, and occasional suspense. The ethnically diverse characters add to the accessibility of this fun middle grade mystery.
VERDICT This title will appeal to reluctant readers as well as students looking for something light and not too scary.

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