Review by Ian Keogh
Anyone who read Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute already knows that behind her apron and rubber gloves the Lunch Lady is the school’s guardian, ensuring the stain of crime doesn’t blemish her premises. However, it doesn’t matter which order the Lunch Lady books are read in, as they’re all self-contained, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka makes sure readers can pick up on the basics with each new book.
The sample art shows both Krosoczka’s deliberately simplified cartooning and how Lunch Lady goes about her business even when out of school. She’s never named, unlike her co-worker Betty who designs the many food-related combat tools used by the Lunch Lady. Also featured are the Breakfast Bunch, Dee, Hector and Terrence, the only kids in the school who know the Lunch Lady’s secret.
As the title indicates, it isn’t only the Lunch Lady who has secrets. Mrs. Page the Librarian is unusually grumpy before the book fair, and the kids have their suspicions aroused. For this volume Krosoczka uses the long-running, but false reasoning that books and video games are mutually exclusive. Hector is looking forward to a new console being released, and gets short shrift when he asks for a book on games, after which it turns out Mrs. Page has allies who think the same way and are prepared to fix the wrongs of the world as they see them.
There’s a good twist as the Librarians have a secret weapon, so will the Lunch Lady and her devices be able to beat them? As the book is again in grey tones and yellow, the foods used are again yellow-coloured, although Krosoczka has to be more creative in coming up with new foods this time around.
It’s all good fun, and ends on a cliffhanger as there seems to be some problem in the boiler room. Will this be addressed in Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta? The first Lunch Lady 2 for 1 Special combines this with the earlier Lunch Lady book.