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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

School of Fear

Author: Gitty Daneshvari
Illustrated by: Carrie Gifford
Originally Published: 2009
Edition Courtney Read Published: 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc
Source: Purchased

The Story

From the back of the book:

Madeleine Masterson is deathly afraid of bugs, especially spiders; Theodore Bartholomew is petrified of dying; Lulu Punchalower is scared of confined spaces; Garrison Feldman is terrified of deep water…

Which is why this may be the scariest summer of their lives. The foursome must face their phobias head-on as students at the exclusive and elusive School of Fear. There is no homework and there are no exams. But if they don’t conquer their fears by the end of the course, they’ll find out just how frightening failing can be.

The Response

I’m not going to mention how long this has been on the TBR pile. I’m not. It’s kind of embarrassing. Let’s just say that I’ve been meaning to read this for a long time.

The back cover of the book recommended it to fans of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, so I was a little bit wary – I really did not like A Series of Unfortunate Events, so wasn’t sure whether I would actually enjoy this one either. Thankfully, it was such an utterly adorable book that I worried all for naught!

There’s such a colourful bunch of characters here, from the quirky headmistress (who used to be a beauty queen) to her gambling lawyer, to the four children themselves, that it would have been hard not to like at least one character in this book. They’re all so amusing in their own little (or not-so-little) neurotic ways.

The children are all so different, and thrown into a dangerous situation where they have to learn to work together in order to save the day – stories like these are always such fun because the potential for so much conflict that you always want to cheer the characters on when they finally realize they need to put aside their differences in order to work towards a common goal.

School of Fear was extremely well paced too – there wasn’t a moment when I was wondering when we would get to something exciting. Right from the beginning, there’s so much to see and learn… whether about the characters, or the school, or how Mrs. Wellington (the headmistress) planned on curing the main characters of their fears when all she seemed to do was teach them how to be prepared for a beauty pageant.

I know I have mentioned her previously, but really, the headmistress was the highlight of this book for me. I absolutely adored everything about her! From the moment she first graced us with her presence, dressed like a 1950’s beauty pageant queen who lost her hair (and potentially her sanity) long ago. I mean, who else would have a whole room in her school dedicated to keeping really gross smelling things all catalogued in jars?

The Bottom Line

Very cute! I’m going to need to read the rest of the School of Fears book, and would highly recommend to fans of slightly bizarre middle-grade books.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:06 am October 23, 2012.
Category: Children's
Book Author(s): ,
Publisher(s): ,

  • kiirstin

    OKAY! Thank goodness, someone else who really didn’t like A Series of Unfortunate Events. I tried, I really did, but it made me mad. And bored. And mad and bored is just not a good combination. But the kids at my library just love the series so I have to keep my opinions to myself.

    This, on the other hand, sounds really cute and fun. I shall have to try it. Thank you!

  • Cat @ Beyond Books

    This has been on my wish list for a long time! I’m happy to read that you enjoyed it. I shall have to get my hands on a copy soon!