cover image Welcome to Scare School (Scare School Diaries #1)

Welcome to Scare School (Scare School Diaries #1)

Jarrett Lerner. Aladdin, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-665-92209-8; $6.99 paper ISBN 978-1-6659-2208-1

This frightfully fun book by Lerner (the Nat the Cat series) collects all the paranormal creatures of the night into a boarding school setting. Quivering with dread, Bash, an insecure young ghost, enters Scare School, fearful that he will fail the classes meant to test his ghostly skills, including flying, invisibility, and intangibility. Bash isn’t as proficient as his talented older sister Bella, and worries he’ll be doomed to haunt small-time locations like closets or dresser drawers as a result. He’s surprised to discover he (mostly) enjoys Scare School: the headless headmaster is kind and his roommate, Itsy Spider, is his first real friend. Still, the classes are just as difficult—and the teachers are just as fearsome—as Bash anticipated. Even with amateur hypnotist Itsy as his study buddy, Bash struggles. But while he fumbles his attempt to use his powers to rescue Itsy from bullies, Bash’s actions provide a distraction that allows Itsy to scurry to safety. Via Bash’s “TOTALLY PRIVATE” journal entries, Lerner utilizes howling humor and occasional b&w comics to depict timid Bash, who—with help from his new friends and an unexpected source—faces his fears and (mostly) succeeds. Ages 5–8. (July)