I just couldn’t resist this spooky looking short story collection featuring stories about Newville Elementary which has a BIG BIG Cafetorium which is the home of some spookyyyyyy and mysterious things happening. From Jell-O clones to goats and pickles.
In these 6 short stories we follow various kids at the school (and sometimes even follow multiple kids given the song story). From a girl who LOVES to eat Jell-O to the point that it became a clone to the boy who tried to wow the school… but could only do one song. The stories were weird, over the top, strange, mysterious, sometimes a bit spooky, a dash annoying in case of the row row song as now I also got that darn song in my head ARGH. I definitely looked forward to what each story would bring and see what kind of things happen in that cafetorium. Not only that, I was also invested in finding out what kids eat there. Haha, sorry, school canteen/dining hall/whatever you call it always sound interesting to me. I mean, here we just take lunch with us to school, maybe get some light snacks and drinks from the store in the building or just go outside and hop to a grocery store (older classes only at least when I was at high school). With all the mysterious things happening at this place I just wanted to step in the book to pop into this world. It sounds delightful and like everyday brings something exciting.
There was however one thing I wasn’t a fan of in the stories… the inconclusive and sudden endings. It often just felt very off/undone. The story is just done, sometimes things are just not solved or solved in a magical way. It just could have been much better if things were tied up better.
I loved that we had a guide/narrator. I always love it when stories have those and I especially love it when they are well-written and interesting. Gertie definitely fits that bill. She has worked 600 years in that place (curious what she is) and she knows ALL about what is going on in the Cafetorium. I just adored Gertie from the start and looked forward to what she had to tell us each time.
The Yearbook was such a nice extra! I really liked seeing all the kids in the school (or well at least quite a few of them). I wouldn’t mind more stories with these kids/taking place in this school.
The illustrations, they were just perfect and I really liked them A LOT. I am definitely curious to see what the artist has done more, will be looking them up soon.
All in all, I quite enjoyed this book though again the endings could have been so much more and so less feel like non-endings. But the stories were fun and mysterious and reminded me of other (older) children’s books featuring spooky things going on at school.