Friday, March 16, 2012

Fantastic Friday: Scary School by Derek the Ghost

SCARY SCHOOL (Scary School #1)
written by Derek the Ghost, illustrated by Scott Fischer
HarperCollins, 2011
ISBN13: 9780061960925
237 p.
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from e-book provided by author for review.
Opinions expressed here are solely my own.
No compensation was received for this review.

BLURB: 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.
I am not normally a big fan of monsters or scary stories.  They just don't appeal to me much.  But I have to say I quite enjoyed the humor in Scary School.  As a teacher there are times when I just want to pull all my hair out. Being able to do as Ms. Fang does (suck out a student's blood) or Mr. Dragonbreath (eat students who don't follow the rules) would be an interesting, if gross way to handle class management.  Note: none of the students die permanently.   I liked the way desert was served in the lunchroom with students having to catch their desert before they could eat it. 

I also appreciated the organization of the book.  Each chapter is its own story but there is an overarching theme holding the book together, the school year and the Ghoul Games (similar to the Olympics only for monster schools).  This makes the book work well as a read-a-loud with natural stopping points.  And I have to say, the illustrations made me giggle, they fit the story to a tee.  My favorite is the picture of Principal Headcrusher with her huge hands and Franz Dietrich Wolfbark, the man in charge of the Ghoul Games, looks exactly like a villain which he is. Wolfbark plots to close down Scary School by having the winners of the Ghoul Games, eat the losers, providing a plot unlike any I've read before.

I read the first chapter of the book to a class of fifth graders and they enjoyed it.  Although I think some students weren't quite sure what to make of it, they did listen quietly, which is always a miracle with a class of 34 students.  Overall, I'd say this book provides a light, humorous, and entertaining read that is perfect for reluctant readers.

Be sure to check out the Scary School website for some great music, games, and other activities.  You may also take the quiz to unlock the secret chapter.

1 comment:

  1. I would categorize thism ore as a funny book. I just got the hard cover in the librRy; we will see after break how it circulates!


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