Friday, December 23, 2011

Scary School by Derek the Ghost

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Scary School by Derek the Ghost

HarperCollins, June 21, 2011
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! 
Plus 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!
This was a fun middle grade read--definitely geared for boys. There's death and dismemberment, there's crude humor, there's monsters galore--what's not to love?

I was a little concerned at the death and blood at the beginning of the novel (well, actually the death and blood are throughout the whole novel. I was concerned at the beginning), because the suggested ages are 8-12, and I don’t know that most 8-year-old have quite the grasp on death in fiction that’s required for this story. I want to have my 9-year-old daughter read it--actually, the original plan was for both of us to read it and then write the review together. BUT, she’s making her way through Darth Paper Strikes Back, and I didn’t want to hold this review off because of her. I do plan on passing it off to her, although I don’t think I would have if she were 8.

But I digress. The story itself is simple but engaging--both human and monster kids are enrolled at Scary School, where the teachers are all monsters of varying degrees of terrifying. And in this world, human parents are well aware of the fact that each day at Scary School might be their child’s last. They have to sign a waiver, you see.

And our narrator, eleven-year-old Derek the ghost, is entertaining to listen to, with his promises of “more about that later” and his insider knowledge of the school. It really is a shame that he perished in that chemistry incident--and I do hope that he’ll be able to make his presence known in future books.

That’s right, Scary School is the first of a series, with more books promised each year. I can see myself continuing to read this series, and recommending it to reluctant readers. While there is, as I mentioned, tons of death in this book, it’s all done tongue in cheek. The characters are fun and there are lessons to be learned (some, like Rule #5, might not make much sense, but still.). Besides, the dead are hardly ever really dead at Scary School.
Review copy provided by the author.
Enjoy your reading!

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