Friday, June 8, 2012

Scary School by Derek The Ghost (AKA Derek Kent)

Publisher: Harper Collins
Age: Elementary/ Middle Grade
Rating: 5/5
Species: Werewolf/ Vampire/ Zombie/Dragon/ Magically Delicious/ Witch/ Human/ T-Rex
Interest: Requested Review/ Supernatural Beings/ Good Cover
Source: Received for review from Derek Kent

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. (summary from goodreads.com)

Disclaimer: My Summer Girl Books hasn't read middle grade books or elementary chapter books since, well since she was in those grades. She may not be up to date on the most adventurous, grossest, scariest, funniest or best books for that age group, but she is confident in her book recommending skills. She now requests that every kid, big or little, normal or scary, fearless or not, to read this book series.

I think I forgot that books can be funny. More accurately, that books can be hilarious in a non-sarcastic, self depreciating or obscene way.  Scary School was just plain insane fun. Nothing was forced into making sense. It was just one crazy story after another, which was wonderful. There wasn't any intense drama or cruelty or too intricate plots. One of the reasons I enjoyed Scary School so much was that I could just turn my brain off and have fun while reading it. That almost never happens to me anymore. Any chance to get outside of my constantly over-analyzing head is beyond welcome. (I want to read the second book, Monsters on the March so badly right now!)

Drawings! I am such a huge fan of art. Anyone who's read this blog for a while knows this. Illustrations just take me to a very happy place in my heart, especially good ones. When I agreed to review it, I didn't realize that Scary School was pretty much bursting with illustrations of characters and their odd predicaments. As soon as I found out, I fell half in love with this book series. Being able to see a character on a page somehow enhances everything I read about them and makes it a more enjoyable experience. While I loved reading about all of the characters, I think watching them would be much better. Scary School should be made into an animated TV show! I would totally watch it.

Another reason I think this would be perfect for TV, is the short and sweet vignettes. The book didn't focus on one specific character, but rather branched out to include a large number of Scary School inhabitants. I confess to having my favorites. (Charles Nukid and Penny Possum dream team forever! I wouldn't mind learning from Mr. Drangonsbreath or Ms. Fang at all! Petunia and Frank [pronounced Rachel] are besties!) However none of the characters were truly rude or unlikeable, except for that nasty business with the villain. (He gets his just desserts though, so it's alright.)

Section of the review for Parents only: Scary School does have some good morals in it, like selflessness, discipline, respect, not judging people, etc. Although the title says the school is scary, there aren't too many frightening moments for children, I can only think of one or two. All the deaths are funny, not traumatizing and usually results in the dead being brought back to life. It's a fun and easy read. Plus, there are allusions in there just for the parents, like Mrs. T, Frank N. Stein and other cute little puns or comments directed at an older audience.

Section of the review for kids only: It's a totally awesome book! There are vampires, zombies, witches and a principal that could crush your head with her hands! Some gross things happen too like eating bugs, but that's over really quickly. My advice is to watch out for Mr. Dragonsbreath's rules, never look at number 5!

There was only one thing about Scary School that bugged me. The book is written by Derek The Ghost of course, and he loves telling stories. However, he would keep getting ahead of himself and have to repeat "but more about that in the next book" or "you'll hear about that later" or even constantly correcting the pronunciation of Frank to Rachel every single time she was mentioned. This isn't a bad thing for a book, but it's very distracting to wonder what will happen later or what will be in the next Scary School book when you're trying to read the story currently being told.

Overall, Scary School was a hilarious, wonderful, funny and slightly scary book that I loved! I encourage parents or teachers to buy this book for their kids to read. I would especially recommend it for kids who were like me, at that age, totally in love with the strange and supernatural, wanting to be scared, but not really terrified. I promise your kids (and you!) will absolutely love this book! So rush out and buy it the first chance you get, and devour it like Mr. Dragonsbreath will devour you!

Don't forget to check out the Scary School website, scaryschool.com to meet the staff and students, play games, unlock bonus stories, view book tour information and quizzes!

Teaser Lines: "I pity the fool who betrays this school," Mrs. T replied licking her chops.

Look out for the next Scary School book, Monsters on the March, out on June 26th 2012 from Harper Collins!

Happy Reading,

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