Author: Tyler Whitesides
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published Date: September 10, 2013
Hardcover/Kindle/CD/Audible/DB Bookshelf: 343 pages
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Reviewed by: Shanda & Sheila
FTC FYI: free digital review copy in exchange for an honest review
A secret society of Janitors with wizard-like powers continue their battle, and now, the stakes are even higher. The Bureau of Educational Maintenance is after Alan Zumbro and this time they mean business – deadly business. Spencer, Daisy, and their little team of rebels must find the source of all magical Glop and destroy it before it can destroy the world as we know it. No small task with the BEM and their monster toxites at their heels. It’s a wild and dangerous ride as they follow the trail of clues all the way to the hiding place of the mysterious aurans: guardians of a secret landfill. What they discover there will change the way Spencer sees himself, not to mention the fate of the rebels.
In the Janitors series, Tyler Whitesides has created a magical, adventure-filled world that middle-grade boys and girls will enjoy visiting again and again. With humor and lots of Glopified action, Spencer and Daisy continue to battle threats to education and learn to use even more magical cleaning supplies as they form new alliances and new enemies.
Germaphobe Spencer must deal with an increased level of gross in order to overcome the new challenges facing him and Daisy as they battle the BEM. From a week at an exclusive school to trekking through an expansive landfill, it seems that Spencer and Daisy will never defeat the BEM and find what they seek. They don’t know who to trust when betrayal follows betrayal.
Though this third book is over 300 pages, it reads quickly. The Janitors series is great for 8-12 year olds who love adventure and magic, but parents might enjoy it just as much. There is a fair amount of disgusting (they deal with a lot of garbage after all), and readers are introduced to a fun character who takes trash-obsession to a whole new level.
Spencer experiences some self-discovery about his abilities, as well as learning what Daisy is capable of beyond her sweet, somewhat gullible personality. Even Dez’s character experiences a little growth. I was concerned that in Book 2 (I have the ARC, so this might be different in the final version), Dez bullies Spencer in front of Spencer’s mother (both emotionally and physically by pinching him) and she says nothing while he and Daisy sit there and take it. I wouldn’t want kids to think that if they are bullied and their parents don’t notice or say anything that they should just accept it. There are times, though, that Spencer does stand up to Dez. In Curse of the Broomstaff, Spencer is learning to stand up to Dez more often, and even shows some maturity when he is concerned for Dez’s welfare without subjecting himself to more bullying.
Fans of the first two Janitors books will enjoy Curse of the Broomstaff. I’m curious about how many books are planned for the series, because the story definitely isn’t finished yet. I suspect many young readers are happy to know that there are more Janitors books to come.
Janitors has become one of my favorite Middle Grade series. As a teacher, I’m often asked by students and parents what books/series I recommend they read. Janitors is one that I highly recommend and often do.
There is so much to love about this third book. (I also strongly advise you read the first two books in the series because it will make your read so much more enjoyable.) The main characters, sixth-graders Spencer and Daisy, have grown into their roles as true heroes and rebel fighters. They prove over and over again how much they have learned, and save the day quite often in this book. They are awesome using their magical weapons/tools: flying brooms, Glopified mops,and plungers. The action escalates in book three and is as messy as ever. (This is in reference to the world’s greatest school cafeteria food fight!)
What is truly funny is the message from the author at the beginning of the book.
Here it is: the third installment in the JANITORS series. And I must admit, this is definitely the trashiest book I’ve ever written. No, literally. This book is full of garbage.
This time, our young heroes must venture deep into an enchanted landfill. They will battle heaps of living garbage and hike through distorted trashscapes as they discover a mysterious group of kids living among the refuse, harboring a centuries-old secret that could save the future of education. As you can see, I take garbage very seriously.”
It is so true! Poor Spencer who hates germs and getting dirty has his hands full. I loved all of the new characters and creatures that were introduced. Tyler really hiked up the intensity of the action and suspense. It was also a plus to see more interaction between Spencer and his father Alan. I think they both learned a lot in this adventure about themselves and each other.
As with the other books, the ending leaves you wanting more with Spencer’s new title and mission. What is that title and new mission? I’m not saying anything, except that you need to read Janitors Book 3: Curse of the Broomstaff to find the answer. With engaging and bright characters, beefed-up energy and action, and written especially for elementary age kids, (even though teens and adults will love the books too!) the Janitors series needs to be put on your children’s to-read list today.
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