Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scary School by Derek (The Ghost)

Scary School by Derek the Ghost
Published: HarperCollins
Genre: Middle Grade
Description: 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 and 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.

Scary School achieves a new level of awesome.

Ghost-kid Derek is looking for peace in halls filled with goons, ghouls, and monsters of every kind. This school is Topsy-turvy, where the uniform is not wearing the uniform and you're taught by vampires and zombies, nearly eaten by a giant squid on your first day, and detained in detention by an old-lady T-Rex that you certainly don't want to be dining with.

How could you not want to attend? 

This book is totally my little brothers' humor, and I thought of them often while reading it. It's nostalgic in the way that it captures everything people love about being a creepy kid: dinosaurs, monsters, and acting a little weird and incredibly silly. It's clever, it's unique, it's great for any kid (even the really big ones), and it's laugh-out-loud funny! If you're afraid you may might die of laughter, don't worry - Scary School surely has a place for you afterward.

It manages to make light of what could be a traumatic situation (like, well, croaking in the science lab and left with the depressing task of haunting your school), while still managing to pull through with a few important morals and great themes about growing up (and not). Brimming with likable, amusing characters you'd be crazy not to be fond of (like Derek the Ghost or rule-obsessed Charles "New Kid" Nukid), it's a perfect example that reading can absolutely be fun for any age, and an important reminder that being different can be a wonderful thing.

This quick, middle-grade book is adorable in the creepy way. It's a totally fun must-read grown ups will like, too! Fantastic graphics and drawings are woven throughout the pages, with flocks of bats, ghoulish characters, and ghost-pad notebook lines all reiterating the fun feel of the piece. The story is so real it's actually attributed to a character. How can one get more awesome than that? If I had come across it (expecially) in elementary school, I would've been all over this series! Of course even now I completely relate to our ghostly storyteller (there were a few times I would've liked to die in science class, too), and reading it felt like talking to a quirky childhood friend. And hey! If they open the grades, I'll consider enrolling - it would make high school so much less mundane. Scary School considered a great place for academic challenges and curious, revolutionary rules. Plus the staff is quite up-front, peculiar and interesting: you can actually pronounce all of their names (those being true-to-character... and species), and, I've always had a suspicion that most teachers want to eat you - at least at Scary School they're honest about it!

It's an entertaining cross between Scooby Doo, Monster High, and Growing Up Creepy, made for the age group a few levels before The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I recommend it for fans of all of the above, plus any kid (or parent) looking for something new! :)


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