Lunch – and justice – is served! Hector, Dee, and Terence are the Breakfast Bunch. They don’t expect any excitement out of their school day, other than fleeing from the school bully, Milmoe. But then they decide to find out if the lunch lady and her helper, Betty, are really as boring as they seem…and make an astonishing discovery! The lunch lady is Lunch Lady, serving justice to crooks (with a side order of sloppy joes). Equipped with gadgetry created by Betty, including a Lunch Tray Laptop, Hover Pizzas, Hot Sauce Lasers, and more, Lunch Lady keeps the school, and the town, safe from dangerous criminals.
Accidentally assisted by Hector, Dee, and Terence, Lunch Lady successfully combats cyborg substitutes, evil librarians, visiting authors bent on revenge, hideous lake monsters interrupting a peaceful summer at camp, bake sale thefts, and the sudden appearance of crooks on an otherwise uneventful field trip.
Krosoczka’s dialogue is vigorous and funny, with plenty of exclamations — “Greasy bacon!” yells Lunch Lady, when she’s faced with Buszilla — and realistic exchanges between the kids, teachers, and administrators of Thompson Brook School. These stories make excellent read-alouds if you have a small enough group of children to gather round for the pictures. While the stories are exciting, hilarious, and addictive, Krosoczka doesn’t shy away from including bullies, petty teachers, money issues, and all the daily trials of realistic school life.
The plots of the Lunch Lady graphic novels are developed mainly through Krosoczka’s excellent art in hues of yellow and gray. Lunch Lady, as the main character, is drawn in constant motion, waving at kids, leaping towards danger, and shadowing villains. Her expressions are never static, showing determination, shock, fear, and in quieter moments, some disappointment at being constantly overlooked by staff and others. The cartoon style of the art never descends into stereotypes and the characters all have independent personalities and motives clearly shown in their faces and actions.
Art and writing together make these stories highly readable. The panels are well-organized and easy to follow and the lettering is large enough to be easily readable, both prime concerns for beginning and reluctant readers. The logical but zany plots, hilarious weapons and fights, and relatable characters will make this a top favorite for elementary ages. Promote Lunch Lady along with Jennifer Holm’s Babymouse and Squish, Frank Cammuso’s Knights of the Lunch Table, and D. J. Steinberg’s Daniel Boom aka Loud Boy.
Some parents may be uncomfortable with the occasional appearance of guns in the crime-fighting scenes before each story, but all of the violence is of the classic comic book “kapow” variety. Librarians are encouraged to buy prebound editions, since these will be read and reread until they disintegrate!
Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute: 9780375846830
Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians: 9780375846847
Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta: 9780375860942
Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown: 9780375860959
Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit: 9780375867293
Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco: 9780375867309
Alfred A. Knopf, 2009-2011