Book Review of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides

Book Review of Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides

 What is going on at Welcher Elementary? What are those crazy things Spencer can see in his classrooms and in the halls? Why can’t anyone else see them? And what does the school janitor have to do with it? Who can he trust? My children and I have loved this book. It’s so fun! I hope you enjoy my book review of Janitors by Tyler Whitesides.


No one takes Spencer Zumbro seriously when he tries to warn his classmates about the mysterious things prowling the halls and classrooms of Welcher Elementary School. But when he sees Marv, the janitor, going after one of the creatures with a vacuum, he knows he’s not the only one who can see them.

With the help of his new friend, Daisy, Spencer has to find out what the janitors know. The children’s search uncovers the magic taking place behind the scenes of their seemingly ordinary school, where a battle is being waged for the minds of the students. Who can be trusted—and can Spencer and Daisy protect their school and possibly the world?

My Book Review:

My boys (ages 11 and 10) read this book awhile ago and have been telling me and telling me and telling me that I need to read it. They loved it. It made it even better that Tyler Whitesides actually came to their school and signed their book. I had so many other books to read that I hadn’t gotten around to it…until now.

If you’ve read my blog before, you have probably heard me say that I taught first grade before I had children. When I go back to teaching, I will not see the school in the same light. Ever. Do you trust the janitors? Or are they the bad guys? And please don’t tell me those creepy things are in my kids’ school too!

This book is a fun and fast read. It is filled with betrayal, action, crazy dust creatures, friendship, big messes, and lots of cleaning supplies. And these are no ordinary cleaning supplies! Mr. Whitesides has created a fun and exciting world filled with magic and secrets.

The characters are well developed and realistic. I could picture the principal perfectly. I loved the descriptions of him. Spencer and Daisy seem like cute, normal kids. I thought they were childish enough that it felt realistic, yet brave enough to make it exciting. Spencer’s mom is the best! She’s awesome, and I could definitely see myself acting that way in order to protect one of my children.

The janitors are a little crazy, but great characters. I really enjoyed learning about how the creatures affected the students. Hahaha!!! Now we know why we tend to fall asleep in class, or why we sometimes get distracted while we walk down the hallways. Did I mention the cleaning supplies? I want some of them. Yep, I think I want a broom. That would be great!

 The story line was a little predictable, but it didn’t stop me from reading. It still has enough action and adventure, along with a few surprises, to be exciting. I liked this book a lot and I know the kids love it! And, the best part? It’s clean! Love it! I highly recommend this book! Now……I just need to dig through my kids’ rooms to find book #2!

Content Rating PG+ Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity or “intimacy.” One of the main characters does die. It’s sad but not detailed or gruesome. They do fight the bad guys and the bad creatures, so there is some minor violence.)

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up (Middle-Graders)

Rating: 4/5

4 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here:


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This post was first published on 8/30/13; updated on 3/20/18

Janitors: Heroes of the Dustbin (Book #5)

Janitors: Heroes of the Dustbin (Book #5) by Tyler Whitesides 

“Although their enemies are powerful, their allies few, Spencer and his team of Rebels are not giving up! But what chance do a handful of kids and one rescued janitor have against the combined evil of the Founding Witches and the Sweepers? Can the Rebels close the source of all Glop and stop the Toxites once and for all–or is the world doomed to fall under the control of the sinister Bureau of Educational Maintenance? This explosive series finale is a gripping ride through conflicted loyalties and daring escapes, unexpected alliances and betrayals, and an ending you’ll never forget!”
My Review:
Hahaha… boys have been waiting and waiting for this book to come out! From the second the ARC came in the mail they have been drooling over the amazing cover and begging me to finish so they can read it. Brandon Dorman has definitely outdone himself this time; the cover art is fantastic and does a great job of setting the stage for this finale! So does the book live up to all this hype? Yes! I loved it! It is nonstop action from the beginning to the end. Many of our favorite characters are back for round five, and they may find a few new ones along the way. Of course Spencer, Daisy, and Dez return. I won’t spoil the fun about who else is there; let’s just say I love Mr. Whitesides’ character development. I love Spencer and Daisy in this book. They have come so far from the first book, and I have enjoyed watching them grow and progress through the books. They learn some hard lessons in this book, but the lessons of friendship, loyalty, bravery, dedication, hard work, determination, and trust are lessons that the characters and the readers will not forget. It’s so good for these middle-graders to see these characters and to learn the lessons along with Spencer, Daisy, and Dez. Spencer and Daisy, especially, are very well done. They never waver. I enjoy Mr. Whitesides’ writing style. It’s a fast, easy read, and is easy to understand. I just got sucked in and couldn’t put it down. The descriptions are so life-like and believable, and you feel like you are in that landfill or at Welcher Elementary School. There really is nonstop action in this book. One thing after another, after another. I hope all the characters went home and slept for a few days. I felt tired just reading about it. It’s exciting adventure too. There are witches, sweepers, pluggers, toxites, thingamajunks, lots of glop, monitors, rebels, and one General Clean. If you liked the first four books, you definitely need to read this one! You will not be disappointed!
This book does not have any profanity or “intimacy.” Violence, though, is rampant. At least one character dies and there is a lot of fighting. Some of the fighting is against people and some against monsters and other creatures, but it is violent. It is a war to save the world, you know, so it isn’t pretty in some parts. My only complaint (that is actually too strong of a word, but it’ll have to do…) would be that it did kind of get all wrapped up in a nice, pretty bow at the end. It is a middle-grader book, though, so I really wouldn’t expect anything other than that. 
Rating: PG+ (No profanity or “intimacy,” but there is quite a lot of violence. They are fighting a war to save the children of the world.)
Recommendation: Middle-Graders: 3rd (for a mature third grader) to 4th grade and up. My eighth grader and seventh grader love this series. 
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This book comes out Sept. 8th!!!

Janitors: Strike of the Sweepers (Book #4)

Janitors: Strike of the Sweepers (Book #4) by Tyler Whitesides
“The stakes have never been higher, and you’ve never seen squeegees do this before! It is a wild and slightly unsanitary ride as Spencer, Daisy, and the Rebel Janitors find themselves chased by Mr. Clean’s new and terrifying half-breed Toxites–the Sweepers. Time is short. With the fabled Manualis Custodem in hand, Spencer must figure out how to summon the Founding Witches if they ever hope to mop up and save education.”

What a fun (and slightly disgusting) book! I have enjoyed this series, as have my boys (13 and 11), and this one does not disappoint! Beware: there’s a lot of garbage, a porta-potty, a germ-filled bowling ball, lots of toilet paper, and maybe even a little magical dust. I love the new glopified inventions in this book; I think I need to stock up on squeegees and Windex! The characters, as always, are great. They can be a little cheesy at times, but they are also brave, witty, intelligent, creative, and well developed. I do not think I’ll be able to buy anything labeled “Mr. Clean” again. Sorry to the real Mr. Clean, but the Mr. Clean in this book is not a good guy, to say the least. He definitely makes a fantastic villain. There are some new characters, some of the same, and we get to see the return of a few characters, which is always fun. The story is written well. There may have been a few stretches, but it’s fantasy, right? Anything can happen! I love that when you’re reading it there’s never a question in your mind as to whether or not that could really happen… this world, it does happen and it’s believable. That is the sign of a great author. Mr. Whitesides’ writing is creative and fun, with just enough humor, wit, and action to keep the reader engaged throughout the entire book. Brandon Dorman’s illustrations are, as always, amazing. There were a few twists and surprises in this book that……wow. Just wow. I never saw them coming! My boys are going to LOVE this book! It is a great middle-grade/early YA read. If you’ve read the first three, you need to read this one pronto! And if you haven’t read any in this series, I definitely recommend it!

Rating: PG+ (It’s clean-no profanity or “intimacy.” However, at least two characters die, and those deaths are a little graphic. There’s lots of Toxite-fighting as well.)

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Janitors: Curse of the Broomstaff (Book #3)

Janitors: Curse of the Broomstaff (Book #3) by Tyler Whitesides
(Summary taken from the first page of the book) “A Message from the Author: Dear Reader, Here it is: the third installment in the JANITORS series. And I must admit, this is definitely the trashiest book I’ve ever written. No, literally. This book is full of garbage. This time, our young heroes must venture deep into an enchanted landfill. They will battle heaps of living garbage and hike through distorted trashscapes as they discover a mysterious group of kids living among the refuse, harboring a centuries-old secret that could save the future of education.”
First of all, notice the girl on the cover? Didn’t I say yesterday when I reviewed book #2 that the covers needed to be a little more girl-friendly? Well……it looks like they listened! My boys have been so excited for this book to come out. They have been counting down the days. And, when I received the book they begged me to let them read it first. Hahaha….sometimes it pays to be the mom. I got to read it first. Don’t worry, though, they’ll both have it read in about three days. Maybe two. Out of all the JANITORS books, this one was my favorite. I thought there was plenty of action, lots of surprises, and yes…..tons of garbage. Yuck! I’m not sure how the germ-a-phobe Spencer made it through this book with all the germs crawling around the landfill, but he did. His character grew a lot in this book. He had to mature a little, which is sad, but fun to watch. He’s always been quite mature for his age, but in this book he learns a lot about himself, his dad, and his abilities. Daisy is always a fun character, and I love Penny. I actually came to really like Barnard as well. He’s a fun addition to the Rebels. I liked the path the Rebels had to follow by figuring out clues, and I thought it was clever how it fit in with them getting into the landfill. I’m still not sure about the Aurans. Are they good? Are they bad? And the Pluggers…..oh they’re scary! I definitely do not want to meet one of those in person. I thought Mr. Whitesides’ writing improved in this book. I liked the interesting creatures they met in the landfill, and I liked the creativeness of the landfill turning over. Where can I get a glopified broom? Oh, and a plunger? That would come in handy when I want to vacuum under the couch!
This book is clean besides some scenes where the characters fight the BEM members and their huge toxites. They also fight some garbage. Yep, I’m very glad I don’t have glopified garbage….I don’t want to worry about it coming to get me while I’m sleeping. If you liked the first two books, you’re probably drooling over the third one like my boys are. You’ll love it.
Rating: PG+ (Fighting against garbage and toxites, along with BEM members)
Recommendation: 3rd grade and up
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Janitors: Secrets of New Forest Academy (Book #2)

Janitors: Secrets of New Forest Academy (Book #2)
(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “Now more than ever, Spencer, Daisy, and even Dez must fight to save schools everywhere. Toxites, the small creatures that love to feed on the brain waves of students, are just the beginning of their troubles. The Bureau of Educational Maintenance (BEM) is after Spencer, and the Rebels hope to sneak him to safety within the walls of an elite private school. But danger follows Spencer and his friends, testing their loyalty and trust as well as their Toxite-fighting skills. Can they hold out long enough to discover the true secret of New Forest Academy and what it means to the future of education?’
I liked book #1, and book #2 did not disappoint. There is lots of toxite-fighting action, betrayal, danger, garbage dumpsters, and cleaning supplies. There are also new friends and enemies, along with some fun new glopified weapons. I thought this book was a fun, easy read, and for those who liked the first book, you will definitely like the second. Spencer and Daisy continue to fight for education everywhere, including where they thought they would be safe. Penny and Walter continue to surprise with fun new inventions. There are some great twists and turns in this book, along with some surprises. I liked a bunch of the new characters. I wasn’t sure about some of them at first, but they grew on me for sure. There are some definite “yeah-right” moments in the book, but it’s fantasy, right? Anything can happen. It’s very creative and fun. It’s really not the best writing in the world, but it’s fun and the kids love it. It’s also clean, which is always a bonus in my book. I can’t tell you the number of kids who have seen me reading this series and commented on how much they loved it and can’t wait for #3 (which I will review tomorrow!!!). I have my two boys and the neighbor girl already waiting……and waiting…..for me to finish #3 so they can read it. I’m sure it will get passed on after that as well. My sister said my niece didn’t want to read this series because the covers look too boy-ish. She’s right, they do kind of make it seem more for boys, but Daisy and Penny are main characters, and they are girls. I think the girls will like it too, you just have to get them to look past the cover art. This series is actually really good for showing strong girl characters.
Rating: PG+ (Toxite-fighting violence, good guy vs. bad guy fighting, but nothing too gory or gruesome or scary)
Recommendation: 3rd Grade and Up ( My sons are 5th and 4th grades and they love it too)