This is the first of Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s immensely successful line of Lunch Lady graphic novels for children, although they can be read in any order.

The Lunch Lady is a kindly, but nondescript middle-aged woman who’s on Breakfast Club duty when substitute teacher Mr. Pasteur arrives at the school. He’s substituting for a teacher who hasn’t had a day off sick in twenty years, which is immediately suspicious, and that’s even before he begins increasing the work the kids have to do. However, the Lunch Lady is on top of the situation and from her secret base beneath the school canteen she can view any classroom, and as seen on the sample art, her friend Betty designs disguised kitchen-related implements to help her combat crime. Several are seen during the course of the adventure, all creatively funny.

Krosoczka uses a simple cartooning style with no clutter that draws the attention to all the right places, and his character designs have a similar simplicity. Producing the story in grey tones and yellow adds a distinctive touch, while it’s ensured the foods highlighted are also yellow. No yukky greens here!

In order that young readers have characters to identify with Krosoczka introduces Dee, Hector and Terrence, three curious and plucky youngsters who also sense something’s not quite right. When the Lunch Lady has enough evidence to intervene, they’re also on the trail.

This opening volume is fun, but Krosoczka refines his techniques and later volumes are even better.

The first Lunch Lady 2 for 1 Special combines this with the following Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians.