Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gitty Daneshvari. SCHOOL OF FEAR

SCHOOL OF FEAR is bizarre, witty and so much fun! Four kids with irrational fears are sent to this highly secretive school that professes to be able to cure kids of their phobias. Madeline is so terrified of bugs that she wears a veil and carries bug spray everywhere. Theo is so afraid of dying that he can spout off random safety statistics. Lulu is afraid of confined spaces, while Garrison is great at all sports, except water sports, because he's deathly afraid of bodies of water.

The four kids arrive at school of fear to discover that they are the only four kids enrolled. They expected it to be more like summer camp, with lots of kids. They also didn't expect a former beauty queen has-been to be their "teacher."
Lulu questions Mrs. Wellington by asking her about her credentials. Mrs. Wellington goes on and on about her resume that includes various titles to all types of beauty pageants.

    So Lulu interrupts and says, "I meant your credentials to teach us!"
    "Oh, you silly girl! Teachers don't need credentials. That's an old wives' tale."
    "So you have absolutely no credentials to teach us about fears?" Madeline says in shock.
And here is where the kids begin to get a glimpse into who they are dealing with when Mrs. Wellington replies
    "I assure you that one doesn't need credentials for fears when one has a Fearnasium."

The kids' anxiety grows when they learn about the school's library, which doesn't contain books at all. But of course, it's a Library of Smelly Foods! The school and their teacher grow more and more bizarre, and the kids really begin to question the validity of the whole experience. They wonder how this teacher can cure them when half the time she doesn't even make sense.They wonder why she continues to call them "contestants," why learning good posture has anything to do with fears and finally, why does their food taste so bad!

Two additional characters add to the mystery. Schmidty serves as Mrs. Wellington's butler and an English bulldog named Macaroni is treated very much like a person and gets to eat at the dinner table with everyone else.

The ending is unexpected and enjoyable. Really, you must enroll in the School of Fear! You won't be disappointed!