July 7, 2012

Review: Scary School (Book 1)

love the cover
Title and author: Scary School by Derek the Ghost
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 237
Date: June 21, 2011
ISBN: 9780061960925
Source: The author

Summary (from Goodreads):
You think your school's scary? 

Get a load of these teachers:
"Ms. Fang," an 850-year-old vampire
"Dr. Dragonbreath," who just might eat you before recess
"Mr. Snakeskin"--science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
"Mrs. T"--break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry "Tyrannosaurus rex"


Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose
The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch


The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost 

Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends--including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf--and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky

My Thoughts:

This novel is quite a clever idea. What happens when you combine a moat, a giant squid, and a twenty-foot T-Rex wearing a blue dress and a blue bonnet? An introduction to Scary School!

The mission of the school is simple: to bring humans and other beings together as one unit, but what happens when a student accidentally calls a teacher by the wrong name? DEATH! No seriously, she drains them because the teacher is a vampire, and she cannot have students call her by the wrong name. But no student of Scary School should attempt to break a rule because the punishment is not worth the price, unless it turns the student into a dragon. Then it becomes a cool price to pay.

There are allusions to some of the best “monster” stories in literature and in movies. 

There are life lessons to be learned in this book as well – never judge someone based on their looks, always speak up for yourself, cleverness counts, and most importantly, do not betray your school: “‘I pity the fool who betrays his school,’ Mrs. T replied, licking her chops.” It’s the one-liners such as this that will make adults reminisce and young readers laugh.

Readers are also treated to a gaggle of goblins acting out “The Three Little Pigs” as a Halloween treat. If it can go wrong, it does.

And then there are the Ghoul Games: a survival of the fittest between monsters. With Scary School being both participant and host, the stakes are higher because now it becomes monsters vs. monsters and humans. There are some in the monster community that believe this is wrong, and thus they create the ultimate monster prize: the winners of the Games get to eat the losers. Or they can choose a lollipop instead.

The illustrations enhance the storytelling, giving a visual that many will find to be much more frighteningly comical than their own imagination.

The chapter titles are clever and the overall plot is hilariously engaging. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I think reluctant boy readers will enjoy it as well.

This is a winner for young readers in more ways than one. Add it to your summer reading list.

Be sure to check out the next in the series, Scary School: Monsters on the March out on June 26, 2012! 

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