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MONSTERS ON THE MARCH by Derek Taylor Kent


From the Scary School series, volume 2

by Derek Taylor Kent & illustrated by Scott M. Fischer

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: June 26th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-16095-6
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

A new semester of “learning, horror, and mayhem” at a school where all the faculty and half of the students are monsters, the narrator is a ghost and the Locker of Infinite Oblivion is just one of the dark fates awaiting incautious passersby.

With the same danger of sudden death but a lower body count than its predecessor, Scary School (2011), this patchy sequel opens with the rescue of a class that has been trapped on an endless slide all summer. (This was chronicled in an added chapter of Scary School buried on the author’s website.) It climaxes with a spirited defense of the school against an army of karate monsters and along the way introduces characters like budding author Steven Kingsley and aptly named Tanya Tarantula to join continuing ones. Among the latter shines weirdly ordinary Charles Nukid, whose struggles to escape the amorous advances of the Monster King’s daughter, Princess Zogette (“I have always had a thing for younger men. I am a quarter cougar, after all”), precipitate the climactic battle. Fischer’s black-and-white views of sober children and leering but unfrightening creatures reinforce the underlying premise that it’s all in fun. Even readers with a hearty appetite for monsters may find the onslaught becoming tedious after the first dozen or so episodes, though.

A joke that is on its way to wearing thin. (website) (Fantasy. 8-11)