“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scary School • Middle-grade fiction

Scary School
by Derek the Ghost    illustrated by Scott M. Fischer
Available now    published by Harper Collins    Ages 9 - 12
"I died laughing.  Weird monsters in silly situations.  Why didn't I think of that?" 
-- Dan Gutman, author of the MY WEIRD SCHOOL series
Story: Congratulations on your acceptance to Scary School!  The drawbridge lowers at 7:30 am and classes begin at 8 am.  Your homeroom teacher, Ms. Fang, will provide you with textbooks, garlic, and goblin repellent.  If you are late, you will have to report to detention with a hungry T. rex, so please be on time and mind your fingers and toes at all times.  Some of your classmates may bite. 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!
Story behind the story:   Derek is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School, writing down all the spine-tingling often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninja. If that doesn’t work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on earth. Derek the Ghost communicates through the first-time ghost whisperer Derek Taylor Kent, who is a writer and performer from Los Angeles.

What people are saying about SCARY SCHOOL:
 "A laugh-out-loud offering that should find a broad and appreciative audience among boys and girls alike." - Kara Dean, Booklist

"The book was downright funny to the point of me wetting myself!"  - Annemarie Ager, Best Books

"You'll be laughing your head off (oh, but not literally so it's okay!)!" - Books Kids Like

"What a great comic storytelling talent Derek the Ghost is.  I wish he’d been around when I was a kid. School would have been a lot more fun! - Charles Busch, author and star of Psycho Beach Party

"Fans of Monster High will easily lose their heads after getting a laugh out of this spooky tale of non-stop fun!!" - Natalie's World

"Spooky, ooky, and kooky! Scary School reminds me of my middle school!"  - Chris Grabenstein, award-winning author of The Haunted Mystery series

"I was addicted to this book!...Certainly a book I won't forget." - E & K Family Book Review, 8-year-old E

Tour Scary School, meet the students and faculty, play games, meet the author on tour, listen to scary music and more -- visit the Scary School website.

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...


Kimberli Carrier said...

Scary School is anything but scary! It is hilarious and offers real life lessons through monsters, goblins, ghosts and vampires. Though the philosophy of Scary School is that children learn best when they are scared, I think this book teaches children lessons in ways they really do learn best, through humor and sometimes disgusting little stories. I loved the "biology" lesson from the half human, half zombie teacher. But perhaps my favorite lesson was the one Lindsey learned about not judging anyone by their looks.

I also liked that this book eluded to other books in the series with teasers of the characters or themes to be included. A great book for reluctant readers, book clubs, or anyone in the 8-12 age range. I enjoyed reading it to my children almost as much as they enjoyed listening to it.

5 out of 5 for a kid's picnic basket

Julia Pitau said...

Scary School was a great read. I can see the appeal to those elementary school students who are ready for a higher reading level and for the middle school students who need something with fun and mystery. The puns were great and there were "hooks" throughout the chapters, not just at the end. I enjoyed how the book would mention something followed by: "....but we'll talk about that later."

Picnic Rating: 4
Denair Charter Academy

loonyhiker said...

I would give this book 5 out of 5. I thought it was a great book for upper elementary school and middle school. This would be a perfect book for October book clubs in the classroom. I think it would also be a fun book to read aloud to a class. It also is a book full of great vocabulary and puns to use for a language arts lesson. Social skills can be discussed when talking about differences in the world (as shown by the different children and their abilities in the book). I would highly recommend this for classrooms and libraries.

Pat said...

Loved the puns and vocab. My class LOVED it. I read it for our read-aloud time and they begged me not to stop. Third graders know what they like!

ReaderTeacher said...

At first, I thought the story started slowly, but stick with it. As you progress through the chapters you have proven that you are brave enough to continue to learn the secrets of Scary School. Readers also get hooked on more of what will be revealed in later stories. The characters are creepy cool and the reader gets involved in what is fair and unfair in Scary School.

I look forward to sharing Scary School with my students.

wordwarrior said...

Scary School is an amusing story that middle level grade school students will enjoy. I too felt the story began slowly, but as Scary School progressed the characters and story line improved. The overall premise of short subplots that alluded to characters the overall theme reminded me a bit of Louis Sachar's Wayside School series. I hope that Scary School sees the same level of success! I will recommend Scary School to third through sixth grade students.

Megan said...

I enjoyed this book very much! The puns are great. The pictures are even better. I think this would be a great book to hand to a use as a read aloud.

Mary Lou said...

Scary School will be a hit with students. It is quirky. The chapters are just the right length for a great read aloud for your class. Students would also enjoy reading this book on the own. I give it a five out of five.
reviewed by Mary Lou D.
Bella Vista Elementary
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Tricia C. said...

I liked this book but not really until at least half way through. I do think that kids will like it though. There really wasn't a story line for far too long. Also, if the author mentioned things/people that would be explained in the next book once, he mentioned it about twenty or thirty times. I don't see it bothering the kids at all, but as an adult, it was distracting and unnecessary. Overall, a light, fun book that will be popular with kids. 3 out of 5