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Janitors (Janitors #1)

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,133 Ratings  ·  544 Reviews
Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it's draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve-year-old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy G ...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published August 3rd 2011 by Shadow Mountain
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Blackisboss There is a bully in the story and his name is Desmond, Dez for short
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 12, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, middle-grade
My 11 year old told me, "Mom, you have to read this." Every so often she checks on me to make sure I'm still reading. She'll even look at my saved page and check which part I'm on.

A fun and wacky story about Spencer, a 6th grader who washes his face with the wrong soap at school. It turns out that the soap has magical properties and he can now see creatures that roam the elementary school hallways and sap the strength and motivation to learn from all the kids.

The characters in Janitors are livel
Inspired Kathy
Jan 13, 2015 Inspired Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Great middle grade read.

My kids and I both love this series. Such a fun elementary/middle grade series with appeal to the older crowd as well. Even my almost 18 year old enjoyed listening to Janitors on a recent trip.

Content: Clean
Rhiannon Ryder
Aug 05, 2012 Rhiannon Ryder rated it did not like it
I went on the hunt for this book at the BEA because of a poster for it in the lobby. Brandon Mulls quote on the front, with the great art had me excited for this new middle school series. I was hoping for another fantastic series like Fablehaven, but I was deeply disappointed.

My number one issue with middle school books is when authors attempt to talk down to their audience. I don't think it's even intentional a lot of the time, and certainly there are variations of it, from out right talking do
Jamie Ayres
Mar 07, 2014 Jamie Ayres rated it it was amazing
A wonderful fantasy story filled with magic. The plot was so original, and as a teacher, I loved the school setting . . . had me wondering if Toxites are real :-) I'm part of an author festival next weekend with Tyler Whitesides and I can't wait to meet him and tell him how much my daughter and I loved his book . . . it's a Sunshine State book too so I'm sure a ton of kids have enjoyed this good read this year.
Aug 29, 2011 Jessie rated it liked it
This is a cute fast read book. The author is a local Logan resident and this is his first novel. I liked it, but it wasn't fantastic. The students will like it. It has the flavor of a Brandon Mull book. I teach 7th grade, and I think it is a little young for my readers. I would put it on a 4th or 5th grade level. It is about some 6th graders, so I guess middle schoolers could read it. The author is coming to our school this year.
**stop for spoilers*** Spencer, a new kid at school, has no frien
Oct 02, 2011 Nancy rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hazen Wardle
Mar 25, 2013 Hazen Wardle rated it it was amazing
When Janitors go bad… It’s Percy Jackson and Harry Potter meet building maintenance engineers. ‘Janitors’ is a magical story that will sweep you off of your feet.
Spencer Zumbro is your typical 6th grader trying to fit in at a new school, although he tends to be a bit of neat and clean freak. One day he dozes off during algebra (who hasn’t?) and wakes to discover the class bully has decorated his face with a marker. Anxious to remove the obnoxious equations he races to the bathroom and the only t
Katie W
I read this aloud to my two younger kids, thinking they would really enjoy it, since they like books with a bit of magic.

The story was fun, taking place in a school where there are good and bad janitors. There were humorous moments and moments of peril, which really captured the attention of my kids. It's always fun to read a story where the main characters are around your age and where they seem to be normal kids. I think it really spurs the imagination--what if something like that happened to
Aug 06, 2013 Marilyn rated it it was ok
Middle-grade fantasy. OK, so I'm not this book's target audience. I thought about giving it to one of my grandchildren and wanted to read it first. I won't be giving it. It's not terrible, but there are many, many books that are much better. In this a sixth-grade boy and girl join forces with school janitors to defeat evil characters and little creatures who make school kids sleepy and distracted. The message was heavy-handed; the plot and characterization were sophomoric and there were several ...more
Janitors is published by Shadow Mountain, the same company that published Brandon Mull's Candy Shop Wars and Fablehaven series, and I can definitely see this book appealing to fans of Mull's books. There is a lot of action and excitement packed into this adventure, and (as a bonus!) there is nothing that will make parents cringe. Plus, aren't elementary school janitors cool subjects? The janitors in my elementary school were much loved - even the school cats were named after them - and the custo ...more
Feb 19, 2015 Chow rated it really liked it
We listened to this book as we went on a car trip. It was fun and I found myself getting caught up in the story! Great family read!
Emmett Call
Sep 15, 2014 Emmett Call rated it it was amazing
This was a great book and I think the series is going to be great.
Nov 22, 2011 Heather rated it it was amazing
Just bought this at Deseret Book today for my son. I'm the last in line to read in our family since I'm in the middle of the last Harry Potter book. Tyler signed our book today and we saw him with his drumming group called The Janitors perform a percussion piece with buckets, sticks, and garbage cans. It was awesome!

OK I'm now finished this book and wow it was fun! I didn't want to get over with it so I really savored it by reading just a chapter a day. It was a great book I would highly recomme
Phoebe Eckstein
Jul 31, 2016 Phoebe Eckstein rated it really liked it
This book is about two kids who get mixed up in a world of magic and school janitors, two things that normally don’t go together. Spencer lives an average 6th grade life.

One day, after an incident involving a bully drawing on his face and a bottle of magic soap, he starts seeing weird insect-like creatures roaming the school. He soon realizes that the only other people who can see them are the school janitors. The problem is that nobody believes him, except for Daisy, one of his classmates. Soon
KidsFiction Teton County Library
Chris’s Rating: 3 Stars

After an embarrassing event where the school bully drew math equations all over his face after he fell asleep in class, Spencer goes to the restroom to wash. Unfortunately, while the soup he finds is an effective cleaner, he begins to see strange creatures around the school. When no one else can see them he decides it is the soup’s fault and learns that creatures called toxites infect school systems across the nation, making kids fall asleep, be d
LMA2 Bolles
Oct 12, 2015 LMA2 Bolles rated it it was amazing
Janitors are not what they seem...

Spencer Zumbro, Welcher Elementary student, has an ordinary life-nothing goes weird. Everything was okay until he realized the dirty secret of Welcher- they've got Toxites.
Toxites are disgusting little creatures that want to distract, confuse, and make children procrastinate. Each student is different, but it affects schools around the world.
Now, Spencer must fight these creatures, with the help of school janitors and friends.

Now, they can't fight these Toxite
Damian Smith
Mar 14, 2012 Damian Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012, ar-book
Janitors was one of the most awesome books ever. It was super interesting. I couldn't stop reading it. One day this boy, Spencer had to go to the bathroom because some bully named Dez wrote something on his head and when he washed his face with this pink soap, suddenly he could see these strange creatures. His adventures was so exciting and sometimes a little bit scary but not too much. It was just right. I got 100% on the AR test for this book and it was worth 9 points and it is a 5.1 AR Book.
Sep 07, 2015 Ian rated it it was amazing
Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it’s draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve-year-old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy Gullible Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers. Who can Spencer and D ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Cecilia rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It is a fast read, probably good for 5th graders but I don't mind that at all. I will read the next one. I loved the idea of giving importance to janitors since I always thought it was so mysterious that they are at the school after hours and sometimes even overnight, I think it will be scary to be alone in a school at night (yes, I am an old woman but still think that) so janitors have to be special to do that. Will recommend this book.
Imagine a world in which schools are secretly inhabited by invisible, grimy creatures that drain brain waves from students. Imagine a world where the janitors, both good and evil, can manipulate and control these creatures with the help of warlocks. Imagine a world where classmates Spencer Zumbro and Daisy 'Gullible' Gates join forces with these janitors to save the world.

Spencer and Daisy, by means of a magical hand soap, are able to see these creatures, and are recruited by both the evil jani
Dec 17, 2014 Blackisboss rated it it was amazing
I thought it was pretty good. This book is about a government company who tries to take over the world by letting loose dangerous creatures that feed of kids brain waves and release different types of distractions. Only people who where exposed to magic can see them. Join Spencer and his friend Daisy as they save the world from the government company the BEM.
I think that this book was really awesome. I think it was a book for adults just as it was for children. The book was always fast paced in
May 10, 2014 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: bea-naiba-2012
Not a bad book, cute, but I felt really bad for Spencer with his mom not really able to hold things together after his father left. She had five kids to raise on her own and she wasn't quite able to do it. The house was a mess, she didn't really listen to Spence until it was just about too late and the youngest kid was a terror. Not to mention they were living in a house borrowed from a relative and they didn't take care of it at all. The beginning was sad and the bad guy was a bit obvious. Mayb ...more
As if things were complicated enough for Spencer with being the new kid in school, he has to stay one step ahead of the class bully and now he is seeing creatures flying around his classroom. The Janitors tells the story of a league of custodians who seek to protect schools from beings that cause children to be listless, have trouble concentrating and generally wreak havoc. I think the concept has great potential but the execution was poor and not thoroughly fleshed out. The beginning of the boo ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Dlora rated it really liked it
An excellent youth adventure that appeals to adults as well and kids. The chapters are short, which is helpful for young readers, but full of adventure, humor, and life-lessons. The janitors in the school are not what they seem, and when new student, Spencer Zumbro, washes his face with a magic soap he sees what the janitors are battling: scary-looking magical creatures who feed off the minds of young students leaving behind sleepiness, distraction, and apathy. But no one will believe Spencer, n ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Robyn rated it liked it
Tyler Whitesides is from the town where I live, and last year he visited my daughter's school. He got the kids excited about his books. My daughter immediately had to read them all. Then she insisted I read them, too. I try to read her recommendations as she reads mine, but honestly, I could take or leave this one. It wasn't awful, but it's not among the best upper elementary books I've read. The action is pretty good, and the pacing is just right. The concept is (unusual for the targeted age) u ...more
Camp Half-blood
Jun 22, 2014 Camp Half-blood rated it really liked it
Shelves: xander
*note* This review has "small" spoilers ~ nothing that we think actually gives anything away.

Spencer was just an average kid until one day his life changed. When Spencer started seeing toxites, creatures that prevented learning, he was sucked into the world of Janitors.

In this book, Spencer and his new friend Daisy, must solve the mystery of the Janitors and figure out who is really their friend in this battle over the toxites.

Tyler Whitesides does an amazing job with the writing, creating a det
While imaginative and fun, I would argue that this book (obviously meant for students in grades roughly 4-6) relies too heavily on language not entirely accessible to the audience (unless the students, like Spencer, are overly concerned with large vocabularies and correct spelling). I enjoyed the creation of the magical elements of Toxites and how custodial items could fight them, and even how Alice was supportive of Spencer. Certain questions—like why the BEM would stop fighting Toxites—obvious ...more
Sep 28, 2014 Gareth rated it it was amazing
Janitors was a great book to read, because it brought something new and interesting into something that most kids dread, school. It was really cool because I see myself like Spencer, who is good at school, but like him I’m easily distracted. Things started going south after Spencer washed his face with some magic soap that took him into a whole new world within one that he lived in everyday. But that is just the start of his crazy adventure, he learns more and more new things about this new worl ...more
May 04, 2016 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Check out my Booklikes Blog, Dan Grover: Cover to Cover

The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

Still looking for a middle grade author who doesn't underestimate their target audience...

The story is simple, the idea is original and fun. G rated through out. I'm sure many 8-to-12-year-olds will enjoy it.

I'm still on the lookout for awesome middle grade writing, though. Brandon Mull and Rick Riordan are pretty good, but every one else seems to feel the need to talk down to their audience. It kind of
Apr 11, 2016 Braydenk rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Other Books in the Series

Janitors (5 books)
  • Secrets of New Forest Academy (Janitors, #2)
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