Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marvelous Michigan Month: Calumet Copper Creatures

The book I'd like to share with you today is a good one for the Halloween season.  It's Calumet Copper Creatures, part of the Michigan Chillers series by Johnathan Rand.

Michigan connection: Johnathan Rand is a Michigan author.  All Michigan Chillers are set in Michigan, and Calumet Copper Creatures is set in, go figure, Calumet.
Once again, "A" marks Calumet.
Screenshot of Google Maps.
Checkouts: Coming soon to the charter school library.
Series checkouts: 131 checkouts over 14 books!
Typical reader: Upper elementary students, often those who have outgrown Goosebumps.
Source: Snowbound Books

Synopsis: Mikayla and her brother, Calvin, accidentally fall into an abandoned copper mine near Calumet.  There, they encounter horrific monsters made of copper.  Will they escape?

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars

I haven't read other books in this series before, but my students love them.  Without asking them for an explanation, I would wager that they like the thrill of the action and creepiness.  And I did find the action in this book pretty thrilling.  It was a page-turner, in those parts of the book.

The foreshadowing, on the other hand, needs work.  There's hinting at what's to come, and then there's how this book hits the reader over the head with a clue-by-four at the end of every chapter.  It's especially bad before the monster is revealed.  Michigan Chillers are written for a fourth grade reading level.  Upper elementary students don't need to be insulted with this sort of ham-fisted delivery.

This really isn't a character-driven novel.  There's not much to say about the two siblings that go looking for a ghost town one afternoon and fall down a mine shaft.  If you're looking for character development beyond "Wow, we won't do that again," you're looking in the wrong place.  It's definitely more driven by the adventure and scariness.

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