How happy am I? Lunch Lady happy. That's going to be my new measurement of happy because these books are so enjoyable. When I lose a few pounds or see a great movie, I'm going to tell people the experience made me Lunch Lady happy. Speaking of movies, I've read that Universal Studios has picked up the movie rights to this series with Amy Poehler to star! Now I'm even more Lunch Lady happier (that needs a little work).
Let me back up and tell you that my daughter and I have just finished reading the newly released Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute and Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians. The length, humor, and subject matter of these books make them ideal for second through fourth grade readers. The limited color palette reminds me of the popular Babymouse books with yellow here substituting for pink. The plots, however, are very different.
Lunch Lady is, of course, a lunch lady by day, but she's a a crime fighter in her off duty hours. She's wonderful, but the real fun in these books (for me) comes from her sidekick Betty. In the boiler room, Betty, like James Bond's Q or Foaly in the Artemis Fowl series, supplies Lunch Lady with the gadgets that make her crime fighting possible. As we know from Batman, Bond, and Inspector Gadget, all crime fighters without superpowers need super gadgets. Betty invents a spatulacopter, Taco-vision Night Goggles, Hover Pizzas, and more. The possibilities for cafeteria technology are endless and I can't wait to see what author Jarrett J. Krosoczka will have Betty create in future adventures of Lunch Lady.
Only three students in the school, Hector, Terrence, and Dee (aka The Breakfast Bunch) know that Lunch Lady and Betty do more than just ladle out helpings of tuna surprise. It's unclear what grade the students are in, but that's okay. Having them be in a particular grade might limit the appeal of these books. Their involvement creates opportunities for a variety of adventures. For instance, the plot of the second book revolves around the simultaneous release of a new video game system and the annual school book fair. I love that the villains in that one have created The League of Librarians, although one of their number, high school librarian Jane Shelver, makes it clear that she prefers the term media specialist. This and many other little details make the Lunch Lady books fun even for a hesitant graphic novel reader such as myself.