Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Jack Chabert
Illustrator: Sam Ricks
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Sam is a little ashamed of his hall monitor's orange sash on the first day of school, but that is the least of his problems. When he ventures out to the playground, he is sucked into quicksand. The school maintenance man rescues him, saying something cryptic about having selected Sam for the position. Weird things continue to happen until the night of the school play. What does the school have up its sleeve? With his friends suspended from ropes over a gaping maw on the stage, Sam finds courage and capability with help from his friends.
A fast paced plot and a courageous main character make this a great book for transitioning readers to explore. It includes black and white illustrations that provide context and help readers stay engaged in the story. Sam’s two best friends have strengths that Sam recognizes and appreciates. The ending is a little ambiguous and Sam could possibly use some more training, but it sounds as if he is now on his own. It feels a bit overwhelming for a twelve-year-old, and since the last school defender has been at the school for a very long time, it must be wondered if this is Sam's future as well.
*Contains mild violence.