Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1

Common Sense Media says

Humorous homage to classic horror is perfect for tween boys.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Quirky, fantastic humor and horror are the order of the day here, rather than serious educational issues. For readers of classic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, there are plenty of amusing in-jokes.

Positive messages

The young characters learn that apperances are deceiving and that former enemies can work together for the benefit of all.

Positive role models

Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur starts the year at his new middle school in a high state of anxiety about nearly everything -- especially Glen Torkells, the bully who has followed him from his elementary school. But then he and Glen team up to deal with the many threats facing Lovecraft Middle.


Cartoonish/humorous mayhem, including attacks by rats, tentacles, and giant spiders, plus a climatic fight with a demon. A science teacher consumes a live hamster whole.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Professor Gargoyle is a fast-paced, funny horror adventure that serves up action, suspense, and comedy. There are in-jokes for readers familiar with the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, and no objectionable language or bloody violence, but there are attacks by rats, tentacles, giant spiders, and a fight with a demon, and a science teacher who consumes a live hamster whole. The mayhem is cartoonish and intended to be comic. 

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What's the story?

When 12-year-old Robert Arthur starts at state-of-the-art Lovecraft Middle School, he's worried about fitting in and avoiding Glen Torkells, his old nemesis from elementary school. Soon, though, he has other things on his mind, including a missing student, a strange science teacher, and a two-headed rat. If Robert and Glen want to save themselves, the school, and perhaps the entire universe, they have to learn to work together.

Is it any good?


PROFESSOR GARGOYLE: TALES FROM LOVECRAFT MIDDLE SCHOOL #1 is an action-packed, easy-to-read kick-off for a humorous horror series. Author Charles Gilman keeps a light touch on the spookier aspects of the story, and illustrator Eugene Smith delivers drawings that are funny, if sometimes a little frightening. The "new kid at school" set-up is a little cliched, but the author delivers some interesting wrinkles on old themes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the first day at a new school is sometimes so scary. Do relationships between students change in the transition from elementary to middle school?

  • Is it possible to become friends with a school bully?

  • Why do students hide situations that are bothering them? Kids: What's the best way to communicate with parents about bullies and other scary things at school?

Book details

Author:Charles Gilman
Illustrator:Eugene Smith
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Bugs, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Quirk Books
Publication date:September 25, 2012
Number of pages:160
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #1 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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