Lunch Lady is the main character, but it’s hard to really identify with her. Then again, she is a superhero, and it’s hard to ever really know the truth about superheroes. Betty is her sidekick, both in the lunchroom and when fighting evil. Dee, Hector, and Terrence are the students who know Lunch Lady is a superhero, and they make up the Breakfast Bunch. The kids are fun and realistically portrayed, and I think young readers could easily see themselves in these characters.
The Breakfast Bunch has a feeling the librarians are up to something, so they tip off Lunch Lady, who starts investigating on her own. The librarians have been stealing money from the school’s other departments, like the cheerleaders, and want to destroy all video games so children will have to read books. Can the Lunch Lady and her lunch-related gadgets beat the librarians and their book weapons?
Most of the book takes place in the school, which will draw in readers because they can identify with the setting, and picture the events occurring in their own school. Lunch Lady’s turf is, of course, the lunchroom, and the Read-a-thon takes place in the library. The showdown between Lunch Lady and the librarians takes place on the docks, where the video game shipment is delivered. The illustrations really bring the settings to life, without being so detailed that readers can’t use their own imaginations.
Since Lunch Lady is a superhero and the problems she faces are a bit fantastical, it’s hard to pinpoint a theme in these graphic novels. Lunch Lady is fighting for what is right for the school and the students, but she does so by using weapons - clever, lunch-themed weapons, sure, but weapons nonetheless - and violence.
Graphic novels have more illustrations than typical illustrated novels, and the pictures actually help move the story along. I think young readers, whether they enjoy reading or not, would like picking up extra elements to the story that are somewhat hidden in the illustrations. Krosoczka uses black and white drawings with minimal shading and color - only yellow inside the book, and yellow, green, and purple on the cover. I think the lack of color and matte pages make this book stand out over more traditional comic books. It looks more like a novel, which probably makes kids feel more accomplished reading it than they do with flimsier comic books.
In all fairness, I have to say this wasn’t my favorite Lunch Lady book, just because I’m biased - I prefer print books! I’m not saying that people shouldn’t play video games, but I was more on the side of the “evil” librarians than Lunch Lady in this case!
The rest of the Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Babymouse by sister-brother team Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm
Squish also by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm
The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier (Thrilled one of my childhood favorites is back - now as a graphic novel!)