Tales From Lovecraft Middle School #1: Professor Gargoyle

Hardcover | September 25, 2012

byCharles Gilman

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“Two-headed monsters, giant tentacles, angry demons – Lovecraft Middle School is great creepy fun!”
–Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing.  The school library is a labyrinth of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very peculiar – in fact, he just might be a monster-in-disguise.  Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!
Professor Gargoyle (Volume I in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series) is full of bizarre beasts, strange mysteries, and nonstop adventure.  It's perfect for readers ages 10 and up. Best of all, the cover features a state-of-the-art “morphing” photo portrait – so you can personally witness the professor transforming into a monster.  You won't believe your eyes!
“Gilman's debut and series kick-off is great fun for fans of light horror. The changing image on the cover will snag interest, and the spookily realistic black-and-white illustrations throughout complete this slick, scary, funny package. [There are] delectable hints of age-appropriate, Lovecraftian Otherness...with none of the purple prose.” –Kirkus Reviews

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From the Publisher

“Two-headed monsters, giant tentacles, angry demons – Lovecraft Middle School is great creepy fun!” –Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children   Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing.  The school library is a labyrinth of secret corrid...

Charles Gilman is an alias of Jason Rekulak, an editor who lives in Philadelphia with his wife and children. When he's not dreaming up new tales of Lovecraft Middle School, he's biking along the fetid banks of the Schuylkill River, in search of two-headed rats and other horrific beasts.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:160 pages, 7.34 × 5.22 × 0.78 inPublished:September 25, 2012Publisher:Quirk BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1594745919

ISBN - 13:9781594745911


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After Professor Gargoyle is an incomparable middle grade read - and fortunately the beginning of what is sure to be an invaluable and exemplary series. Personally, I think it's a great idea to introduce younger readers to all sorts of books - and a middle grade take on Lovecraftian horror serves up plenty of fun with some shocking and creepy twist. Reasons to Read: 1. Fun horror - but not conventional horror: I appreciate Lovecraft-inspired stories because it's exactly the kind of horror I really enjoy. This isn't what most of us are used to, and for anyone concerned about nightmares or gore, you don't need to be when it comes to Professor Gargoyle. It's shocking at times and a bit twisted and it's just enough to give you some creepy tingling in your spine but nothing that's over the top or gratuitous. Honestly, some of the creepier parts of the story are positively BRILLIANT. 2. Appropriate illustrations for the story: A good illustration is not only pleasing to the eye but it actually enhances the reading experience as well. Eugene Smith is remarkable with illustrations that combine the needs of both a middle grade book and one that has some scarier aspects to the plot. The lenticular cover is also a great way to really get a feel for the book and I think it adds to the overall experience. 3. One of the most creative and thrilling middle grade books I've read: The story is fast-paced, and totally bursting with creativity. I enjoyed the few nods to typical Lovecraftian adventures and creatures. But placing these in a younger setting is going to hold a lot of appeal with younger readers looking for something more uncommon, and for older readers both those who are familiar with horror a la Lovecraft and those who are completely new to it and would just like a taste. I adored the haunted school as a setting, and Karina is one character that I found particularly intriguing. I wish there had been a bit more depth to the story overall though. I think a bit more could have been added to the plot to give it more meaning and significance, although this may be addressed later on in later books from the series as overarching themes and ideas are addressed. It really is something that is great for readers looking for something besides the standard paranormal or contemporary books out there. Review copy received from Quirk Books/Random House Canada for review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2013-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightfully Creepy and Fun The Good Stuff Fast paced - storyline would keep even the most reluctant reader engaged and not wanting to put book down Twisted and funny (Alot of Whedon type humour) Kids act like kids their age should (well except for the paranormal stuff) Many of the adult characters are realistic and not idiots (yes I know its a pet peeve) Really how many of us at one time didn't think their teachers were evil (I'm still pretty sure Mr Turcok was) Robert is a likeable character and many will understand his predicament - lots of changes when you go to a new school and don't know anyone. Also growing up is hard I'm sorry even if this series sucked I would pick them up for the cover alone -- my preschooler plays with them for hours In Slither Sisters (mentioned a little in Professor Gargoyle) there is a fantastic Librarian character. Ok they made her old and a tad frumpy, but she still is an awesome character Great morals/messages worked into the story without making it obvious - love an author who can do that effectively The library is awesome, I totally want to work there Will definitely be picking up the next book in the series & will be saving them for Jesse to read when he gets older (and hopefully Jake will eventually read them oo) The Not So Good Stuff The cover might freak out the less adventuresome reader (aka my son - won't even pick it up & he would love the story) Do you have any idea how many post it notes I used while reviewing and how hard it was to just pick only 6 quotes (since I am reviewing both at once) Favorite Quotes/Passages "He knew the only thing more embarrassing than sitting alone at his new middle school would be sitting with his mommy" from Professor Gargoyle "These can be filled with downloaded books and checked out from the library - as long as you are very careful with them of course. Personally I'm a little old fashioned. I still prefer the feel of a real book with real pages. The best feeling in the world if you ask me. But we have to embrace the future don't we children?" Professor Gargoyle "No one chooses to go to the principal's office," Glenn continued. "You avoid this place. You don't volunteer to come here and hang out." The Slither Sisters "But I can't win," Robert insisted. "I'm not a leader." Ms Lavinia shrugged. "Well, I'm afraid you need to become one." The Slither Sisters "If my brother learns I'm helping you, he'll rip my head off," she said. "And that's not what your language arts teachers call hyperbole. Who Should/Shouldn't Read Perfect for the reluctant reader This is one that would even appeal to the stronger middle school reader as it is just such a fun and wicked read Adults will even get a kick out of the series (I sure did -- but lets face it I'm not really an adult - even-though I am 42) 4.75 Dewey's I received The Slither Sisters from Random House in exchange for an honest review & I purchased Professor Gargoyle because no matter what I always have to read a series in order (but you don't have to read them in order)
Date published: 2013-02-02

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter One       Robert Arthur was surrounded by strangers.     He stood outside the entrance to Lovecraft Middle School, watching the students pass by, searching for a familiar face. Everybody was talking to someone. Kids were joking and laughingand goofing around. But Robert didn’t recognize a single person.     Earlier that summer, his neighborhood had been redistricted. This was a fancy way of saying that all of his old friends were attending Franklin Middle School, in the north part of town, but somehow Robert got stuck attending Lovecraft Middle School, in the south part of town.     His mother told him there was no say in the matter; it was just the luck of the draw.     “But you’re going to love it,” she promised. “They spent millions of dollars building this school. It’s brand new. State of the art. With a swimming pool and digital chalkboards and everything. It’s such an incredible opportunity!”     Robert wasn’t so sure. He would have happily traded the swimming pool and digital chalkboards for the chance to be with his old friends. He had a hundred different worries: Who would sit with him at lunch? What if he needed help opening his locker? Wasn’t anybody from his old school here?     Beside the main entrance of the school was a large digital billboard with an animated message:   WELCOME, STUDENTS! PLEASE REPORT TO THE ATHLETIC ARENA FOR THE RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY!       It might have been faster to walk through the building, but Robert wasn’t in a hurry. He took his time, circling the outside of the school, marveling at how quickly it seemed to have sprung from the earth.     Six months earlier, this was all abandoned farmland, full of weeds and mud puddles and sticker bushes. Now there was a four-story classroom building, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, and lush green grass as far as the eye could see.     When Robert reached the athletic stadium, the bleachers were packed with spectators: students, teachers, parents, news reporters—everyone in town had come to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Everyone except Robert’s mother, a nurse, who worked the early shift at Dunwich Memorial Hospital. Most mornings she was out the door before Robert woke up, so she rarely attended school presentations or class trips. Sometimes this bothered Robert, but today he was grateful. He knew the only thing more embarrassing than sitting alone at his new middle school would be sitting with his mommy. All the other kids were sitting with their friends.     Robert climbed halfway up the bleachers and squeezed between two clusters of giggling girls. He tried smiling at them.      None of the girls smiled back.     The ribbon-cutting ceremony was already under way. First the mayor thanked the governor. Then the governor stood up and thanked the teachers’ union. Then a bunch of teachers got up and thanked the parents’ association. Then a bunch of parents cheered and thanked Principal Slater.     Finally Principal Slater stood up with oversized scissors and sliced the long green ribbon in half. At precisely that moment, the clouds turned gray and a low drum of thunder rolled across the sky.     It was weird, Robert thought. Just one minute ago, it had been a perfectly pleasant and sunny day. Now, suddenly, it looked like rain.     Fortunately, the ceremony was almost over. The grand finale was a special performance by the Dunwich High School marching band, complete with drums, brass, and color guard. They paraded across the field playing “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”     Robert glanced over his shoulder, peering up at the bleachers, scanning the faces. There must have been four hundred kids in the arena. He knew that, sooner or later, he’d have to recognize someone.     And then he did.     The worst possible someone.      Oh, no.     Robert immediately faced forward.     But it was too late. He’d been spotted.     “Hey, Robert! Is that you? Robert Arthur?”     He couldn’t believe his rotten luck. Glenn Torkells? The one person he knew at Lovecraft Middle School—and it was Glenn Torkells? The bully who had tormented him for years?     “Robert! I’m talking to you!”      Definitely Glenn Torkells.     Robert tried ignoring him. His mother used to tell him to ignore the bullies and eventually they would leave him alone. Yeah, right.     “I know that’s you, Robert. I got a real good memory and I never forget a face.” Something slimy hit the back of Robert’s neck. He reached up and peeled it off: a half-chewed gummy worm.     “Turn around and look at me.”     Robert knew that Glenn would get what he wanted, sooner or later. Glenn always did. Robert turned around and another gummy worm struck him right in the forehead.     Glenn laughed uproariously. “Haw-haw! Bull’s-eye!”     He was seated two rows behind Robert, looking much like he did back in elementary school—only bigger. He wore the same green army jacket and the same grubby blue jeans. His dark blond hair was still plastered to his forehead, still looking like he’d cut it himself with dull scissors. Glenn had always been the biggest kid in the class, but over the summer he’d ballooned into the Incredible Hulk.     “What do you want?” Robert asked.     Glenn popped a gummy worm into his mouth and began working his jaw. “Dweeb tax,” he said. “Pay up.”     Robert sighed. Glenn had been collecting the dweeb tax for part of fifth grade and all of sixth. It was a one-dollar penalty he imposed on Robert for various “infractions”—tripping or stammering or wearing ugly pants or other “crimes” that Glenn dreamed up.     Robert glanced around, hoping to spot a teacher who might intervene. That never happened at his last school, but he thought maybe Lovecraft Middle School would be different.     No such luck. Everyone was watching the marching band on the field. The girls on either side of Robert were chattering among themselves.     “Hurry up, Nerdbert,” Glenn said. “You think you’re the only kid in this school who owes me?”     Earlier that morning, Robert’s mother had given him an extra five dollars of spending money, to celebrate his first day as a middle school student.     Robert retrieved one of those dollars and passed it to Glenn. His tormentor shook his head and smiled, revealing flecks of chewed-up gummy worm in his teeth.     “It’s gonna be two dollars here in middle school,” Glenn explained. “We’re not little kids anymore.”   Chapter Two     After the marching band had finished playing, Principal Slater directed the students to find their lockers and then proceed to their homerooms.     As the bleachers emptied, Robert moved nimbly through the crowd, careful to stay several steps ahead of Glenn Torkells.     He noticed a girl hurrying alongside him.     Looking at him.     She was short and skinny, dressed in a white T-shirt and blue jeans and carrying a beat-up skateboard. She had dark brown hair that fell past her shoulders and wore a dozen jangling bracelets on her wrists. She smiled, revealing a mouthful of metal braces.     “You’ve got worms in your hair,” she said.     “Excuse me?”     “Gummy worms. In your scalp.”     Robert reached up and shook them loose. “Thanks.”     “You’re gonna have to stand up to him.”     “Stand up to who?”     “You know who.”     Robert flushed. Was there anything more embarrassing than getting advice on bullies from a cute girl?     “Glenn and I are friends,” Robert quickly explained. “That’s just a stupid game we play. I owed him two dollars from the other night.”     “He called it a dweeb tax.”     “See, that’s part of the game.”     The girl wasn’t buying it, Robert could tell.     “I’m Karina,” she said. “Karina Ortiz.”     “Robert Arthur.”     “I know,” she said. “I heard him taunting you.”     “He wasn’t taunting me.”     “Friends don’t throw chewed-up gummy worms in your hair,” she said. “I was there. I watched the whole thing.”     “Well, maybe next time you should mind your own business.”     The words came out louder than Robert intended. Karina raised both hands in a defensive gesture, like he’d just come at her with his fists. “Hey, suit yourself,” she said. “You just looked like you needed a friend, that’s all.”     Karina dropped her skateboard to the asphalt, pushed off with one foot, and quickly zoomed away from him, swerving around the other students with remarkable balance and precision.     Almost immediately, Robert wished he could apologize and somehow take the words back. But it was too late. Karina was the first friendly person to approach him at Lovecraft Middle School, and he’d managed to scare her away.     He followed the crowd of students up the stairs and into the central corridor of the school, a frenzy of color and sound and energy.     Instead of bulletin boards, the hallways of Lovecraft Middle School featured large high-definition LCD screens with animated announcements of soccer tryouts and chorus practice. Sleek metal lockers lined the walls; instead of old-fashioned combination dials, they had ten-button digital touch pads. Up and down the hallway, kids were lining up to stow their backpacks and lunches.     Robert walked to his locker—A119—and entered the passcode he’d received in the mail. Each button made a satisfying chirp when he pressed it, and then the locker door opened with a gentle pneumatic whooooosh.     In the distance, Robert heard a girl shriek, but he thought nothing of it. Girls in sixth and seventh grade were always shrieking about something or another.     His new locker was divided by a metal shelf into two sections. There was a tall bottom section with a hook where he could hang his coat and a short top section, near the air vents, where he could store his brown-bag lunch.     Robert studied the top section and blinked.     Perched on the shelf, twitching its nose, was a large white rat.     Elsewhere in the hallway, another girl screamed. Then another, and another. A teacher yelled, “Get back!” and Robert felt something brush past his legs. He stumbled away from the locker as the white rat sprang toward him, landing on his chest and leapfrogging over his shoulder.     “Get it off me!” someone shouted.     “There’s another one!”     “It’s in my hair!”     More rats brushed past his feet—there were dozens now, darting under sneakers, gnashing their teeth, squealing and snarling and stampeding down the hall.     Up until this moment, Robert’s life had been fairly quiet and ordinary. He had the same interests and hobbies as a million other twelve-year-old boys. He spent his days in school; he spent his nights doing homework and messing around on the computer. He’d never experienced anything that might have prepared him for a swarm of wild rats.     Yet while the rest of his classmates were freaking out, Robert remained calm.     He understood he had just two choices: He could scream and panic like the rest of his classmates. Or he could sit tight for a few moments and hope the rats would charge toward the nearest exit.     Which is exactly what happened. The stampede reached the open doors at the end of the hallway and fanned out across the lush green lawns surrounding the school. The students watched after them, awestruck.     “I don’t believe it,” said the boy standing next to Robert. “They spend a trillion dollars building this place and it’s already full of rats? How’s that possible?”     Good question, Robert thought.     He knelt to study the inside of his locker. The metal walls and floors were intact; there were no gaps or cracks or holes. There were no places where a rat might have squeezed its way into his locker.     Robert knew middle school would be strange, but this was ridiculous.

Editorial Reviews

“Middle school memories won't be the same once you jump into Charles Gilman's Tales From Lovecraft Middle School series.”—Florida Times-Union“The lenticular covers alone makes the Tales From Lovercraft Middle School books worth buying.  But the books are really good, too.”—Super Punch   “...highly entertaining...”—Horror News“Ideal for middle schoolers or older, it's an action-packed paranormal treat, with lots of weird, unexplainable happenings."—Lansing State Journal“This first entry in a series is a fun read...The mysteries of Lovecraft offer plenty of excitement, and reluctant readers will likely stick around to see just how this story ends.”—School Library Journal“Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is perfect for younger paranormal fans and a great way to have a good time that scares you just enough to keep the pages turning.”—BookSlut“These books are hilarious and gross and charming and bizarre and, basically, totally entertaining.”—Ben H. Winters, author The Mystery of the Everything and The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, a Bank Street Best Book of 2011 and an Edgar Award nominee“Professor Gargoyle has all the hints and trappings of H.P.’s world, with a slight bit of danger, a good dosage of strange and peculiar monsters, and a great setting! We’ve all had a weird teacher during our years in school, so every young reader can totally identify with the first book in the series ... [And] the lenticular covers are amazing! ... I cannot imagine any kid walking by these books in the store or library and not picking it up for a closer look!”—Wired.com’s GeekDad   “Spooky illustrations and a unique book cover add to the horror of the strange world of Lovecraft Middle School, and no self-respecting kid would want to miss enrolling in this exciting series.”—Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI   “Author Charles Gilman spins a web that draws in the reader with plot twists that are occasionally jarring and alarming...”—Montreal Gazette   “If you liked Quirk’s earlier publication, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (and who didn’t?), you’ll gobble this one up. Or down. Whichever way a gobble goes.”—Asbury Park Press blog“...fans of Goosebumps and other lightly creepy fare will look forward to spending more time with a series that even manages to find the dark side of recycling.”—Publishers Weekly