Title: Scary School
Author: Derek the Ghost
Middle school was a nightmare for me. I was one of those awkward kids who wanted so badly to fit in, but never quite figured out how to do it, and ended up being the butt of the popular kids’ jokes most of the time. At 13, I managed to find my own identity and stopped caring so much about what others thought, but for a few years from ages 10-13, things pretty much sucked. I suppose I should be thankful that I didn’t attend Scary School, because as much as I endured with the teasing, at least my teachers didn’t drain my blood just for getting their name wrong! I also didn’t have to cross a moat with a kid-eating squid, or serve detention under the watchful eye of a T.Rex.
Charles Nukid definitely has it much worse than I ever did! He doesn’t even make it into the building on his first day without almost getting eaten by the aforementioned squid in the moat, and he’s given detention within the first five minutes of school for being out of uniform. The worst part? He’s actually wearing the school uniform! See, at Scary School, the official uniform is anything but the official uniform. Maybe that’s not the worst part. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re not even sure Charles Nukid is actually his name. Derek the Ghost, our recently deceased narrator, explains that most Scary School students don’t even bother learning names of new students because the human brain can only hold 50 names, and why bother learning the name of someone who is most likely going to be eaten shortly?
While Charles is, theoretically, the main character and does appear throughout the book, Scary School is more like an anthology of short stories revolving around the different staff members and students of the titular educational institution. This format keeps young readers engaged by frequently switching things up while still tying the story together with a central theme. It’s a rather hilarious book, and despite the frequent consumption of students, not at all frightening. Don’t worry, in most cases the students come back to life. The black-and-white illustrations add to the humor and help readers visualize the sheer craziness that goes on in Scary School.
Overall, I thought this was a really fun book, and will definitely be hanging on to it for Jacob to read when he gets into chapter books a little more. The Scary School website is just as fun as the book. You’ll find games, quizzes, spooky links, official Scary School merchandise and even a tour of the school. I definitely recommend checking it out after you’ve read the book.