Saturday, March 28, 2015

Showcase with review: Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions: Book 1 By Sheila Grau, illustrated by Joe Sutphin

About the book
Welcome to Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions, the premier trainer of minions for Evil Overlords everywhere. No student is prouder to be at Dr. Critchlore’s than Runt Higgins, a twelve-year-old werewolf. (At least he thinks he’s twelve. He was abandoned at the school as a baby, so he can’t say for sure.) Runt loves everything about Dr. Critchlore’s. He loves his classes—like History of Henchmen and Introduction to Explosives. He loves his friends—like Darthin the gargoyle and Syke the tree nymph. And he loves his foster family, who took him in when his wolf pack couldn’t.
            But not everyone loves Dr. Critchlore’s as much as Runt. After a series of disasters, each worse than the next, it’s clear that someone is trying to shut the school down. It’s up to Runt, who knows the place better than anybody, to figure out who’s behind the attacks . . . and to save his home, and Dr. Critchlore himself, from total destruction.

Praise for Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions
“An Addams Family for a new generation, filled with bizarre, peculiar, and sometimes downright silly characters. Readers, whether evil or not, are going to love the imaginative world that is Dr. Critchlore’s.” —Michael Buckley, bestselling author of the NERDS and Sisters Grimm series

“Werewolves, minions, evil overlords, junior henchmen, AND terrifying girl explorers. Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions has got it covered. Clever and funny. I laughed throughout!” —Andrea Beaty, author of Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies and the bestselling Rosie Revere, Engineer 

"Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions is one cool ghoul school, but behind the monstrous mayhem and creepy, comedic antics is a heartfelt theme of friendship. Evil Overlords need not force their minions to enjoy this spooktacular romp!" —Tony DiTerlizzico-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles

“A droll addition to the magical school genre, worthy of a seat toward the front of the (Harry) Potter-wagon.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the author
Sheila Grau is a writer living in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and four children. Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions is her first book.
Joe Sutphin has been illustrating since he was small. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

I love when I can endorse a book that is truly magical, fun and entertaining!  This novel is one any middle grader would love to read alone or it would make the most amazing read together book.  There is fun galore, shenanigans and characters that are such a delight.  I recommend this book for any and all adventure fantasy lovers!!! 4 stars

A.  What inspires your writing?

A. My kids, mostly. But science, nature, and reading also provide a lot of  creative inspiration.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an writer?

A. I love making up stuff, and I love seeing a plot evolve in a surprising way.
Q.  What is the toughest part of being an writer?
A. Staying focused and finishing. When I get stuck, it’s so easy to be distracted by New Ideas. This leads to a lot of half-finished projects. Can you guess if I’m a Pantser or a Plotter?

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I think I’d make a good DMV worker. Every time I go to the DMV I think, boy they look like they need help. I’ve also often dreamed of working in a factory, preferably a chocolate one.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. “Better Late Than Never.”

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Oh, that’s a toughie, like trying to pick your favorite song of all time. It changes so often. I can tell you that the very first book I remember loving as a kid was the Jungle Book. I had an illustrated copy and I really wanted to be Mowgli and hang out with Baloo and Bagheera. The first required school reading book I loved was the Sea Wolf, by Jack London. In college, I read a lot of Dick Francis, just for fun. And since I started reading MG as an adult, my favorite is Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. This is also a toughie. I’ve thought about this for days and come up with nothing.
Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?
A. There’s a little bit of me in a lot of characters I write, of course, both good and bad. I can be cranky and impatient, like Miss Merrybench, the school secretary. I forget names, like Dr. Critchlore. I’m athletic, like Syke. I can be sensitive, like Frankie. I want to rule the world, etc.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. Howl’s Moving Castle. 
Q.  What do you want to be remembered for 100 years from now?

A. Being a good mom.
Q.  What is your favorite season?
A. Spring. Then autumn. I like transitions, I guess.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. My cover, designed by Abrams with art by Joe Sutphin, does a fantastic job of showing what’s inside. You’ve got what looks like a happy kid and his two friends standing on top of a mountain of ogres and a Cyclops in front of a castle. So, right off, you know where you’re going, and you know the pictures inside will be fantastic.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book. 

A. I’m too new to have an answer to this question, so I’ll tell a funny story about when I took my son and his friends to see MG author Rick Riordan, who’s second Lightning Thief book had just come out. He wasn’t yet filling huge theaters for his events – we were tucked into a corner on the second floor of a B&N. My son’s friend looked out the window and saw a very flashy yellow Lamborghini parked outside and asked Mr. Riordan if it was his car. This still makes me chuckle, because, as you all know, most children’s book authors drive Ferraris, not Lambos. Please.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes. I’m working on the sequel(s) to Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A. If you’re still reading, Hi! Nice to meet you. I hope we can meet someday and talk about your favorite books.

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