Friday, May 11

Scary School: Book Review

Scary School
Derek the Ghost
HarperCollins
June 21st 2011
Middle Grade | Fantasy
Monsters Galore


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 feel this book would hold the most appeal for nine year olds. It definitely has the humor and attention span of that age. Everything in the book is supposed to be scary, hence the name. Even though scary things seem to be happening with each page it really is harmless. There is the feeling you get when watching Looney Toons. No one ever dies and if they do it is funny and not traumatic. The author, Derek the Ghost, gets easily sidetracked and his favorite phrase seems to be, "more on that later." There are plenty of silly jokes to entertain young minds as well as perfect reasoning for why things happen. There isn't a great deal of depth and it is very fast paced, sure to keep any child's interest from chapter to chapter.

If you have heard this heralded as similar to Harry Potter put that notion out of your mind. Yes, there are similarities in subject but the writing is no where near in the same category. This book doesn't cross age boundaries. If I had been reading this with a young child I would have enjoyed it. Then I could have watched their reactions. Otherwise, I was mildly interested if a bit bored. There were moments that made me smile. One of the best parts of this book are the many drawings. They really help bring the moments and characters to life. This book felt similar to Magyk by Angie Sage. Same style of writing and illustration but written for a younger crowd with short attention spans. I would definitely pull this out in the future when my children are older. Great for kids or a family read.

Author Interview with Derek the Ghost -

So your parents send you to scary school because you learn more when you are scared. But how does any of that learning do you any good if you are dead?


  • Well, when you go to Scary School, just because you're "dead" that doesn't mean you can't live a full and meaningful life. In fact, just because you die, that's never an excuse for missing class! There are lots of ways to come back, like becoming a zombie, a vampire, a ghost and many others. I became a ghost, but I'm still just one of the students at the school and I'm having a great time with them and all my ghost friends. I love to keep learning because it's much better to be a smart ghost than a dumb ghost, wouldn't you say?

 I can see that you have managed to find a niche for yourself after you own demise. (Writing a book) It seems being dead is a good fit for you. Is there anything you miss now that you are dead?

  • Yes. Most of all I miss having mass. Also I miss being able to have an effect upon the real world, like moving a chair or hitting a tether-ball. It's the little things.  

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