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From the Scary School series, volume 3

by Derek the Ghost ; illustrated by Scott M. Fischer

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: June 25th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-196098-7
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Six more-or-less-human Scary School students try their luck at frozen, all-monster Scream Academy (“Be judicious or be delicious”) as part of an exchange program.

The experiment goes well enough at first—at least there aren’t any immediate casualties—as the six are conveyed north of the Arctic Circle by giant polter-bears and thrust into classrooms filled with malign trolls, ogres, witches and worse. In chapters with titles like “The Deadly Loogie” and “Severed Head of the Class,” nerdy Charles Nukid and his quailing classmates soldier on. They squeak past a continual barrage of deadly threats to a culminating one in the form of Mortazella, a huge Ice Dragon out to destroy all the monster schools. With help from a fiery sword, some much-more-fiery hot peppers and friends like Penny Possum, whose silence literally speaks volumes, Charles prevails and returns to Scary School in triumph. As in previous episodes, the monster count is high, but the body count and the level of actual violence are low. Also as before, the author/narrator (“Derek the Ghost”) tucks an extra chapter of thrills into the series’ website. It’s billed as a trilogy finale for no evident reason except, perhaps, premise exhaustion, but that’s a pretty good one. Finished art not seen.

Another lightweight creature feature, with a teeming supporting cast of ookie-spookies. (Comic horror. 8-11)