School of Fear (School of Fear Series #1)

School of Fear (School of Fear Series #1)

4.5 207
by Gitty Daneshvari
     
 

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Everyone is afraid of something...

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.

With very few options left, the parents of these four twelveSee more details below

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Overview

Everyone is afraid of something...

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.

With very few options left, the parents of these four twelve year-olds send them to the highly elusive and exclusive School of Fear to help them overcome their phobias. But when their peculiar teacher, Mrs. Wellington, and her unconventional teaching methods turn out to be more frightening than even their fears, the foursome realize that this just may be the scariest summer of their lives.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Imagine a humorous middle-grade novel by a less self-absorbed Woody Allen to get an idea of this intelligent and witty children’s debut. Daneshvari assembles a precocious cast of 12- and 13-year-olds with outsize fears, including Madeleine, whose obsessive fear of insects keeps her drenched in bug repellant; Theo, “the most dramatic, hysterical, and neurotic boy in the borough of Manhattan”; brazen Lulu, with crippling claustrophobia; and hydrophobic Garrison. Desperate families entrust these kids to Mrs. Wellington, the snarky “deranged beauty queen” of a headmistress at the secretive and fairly terrifying School of Fear (“Perhaps when the summer is finished you’ll write a letter to the board of camps to complain,” Mrs. Wellington tells the children when they learn they are the sole campers. “And please do not let the board’s hypothetical status deter you”). What ensues is tautly paced, spine-tingling and quite funny, as the children overcome their fears and learn to work as a team. The ending proves as clever as the premise and shows that while everyone is afraid of something, tremendous achievements can be won by facing fear head-on. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Sara Rofofsky Marcus
Four twelve-year-old children from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations come together for a single purpose—their parents' desire to cure each child of a debilitating fear during a six-week summer program in New England. At the School of Fear, Lulu, Madeline, Theo, and Garrison learn to depend upon each other in the isolated house. The only adults present are a creepy caretaker and the headmistress, Mrs. Wellington. At this exclusive, secret, and private school, the children must overcome their fears; but first they must learn to deal with the eccentric Mrs. Wellington's insistence on teaching them all to be beauty queens. The unorthodox school, teacher, groundskeeper, and classmates are more fearsome than their personal fears, and those things grow increasingly fearsome as each day passes. Mrs. Wellington's unorthodox methods eventually work, and the students learn the true meaning of friendship and bravery and successfully overcome their fears. Reviewer: Sara Rofofsky Marcus
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—"Everyone is afraid of something." So begins each chapter of this unusual book (Little Brown, 2009) by Gitty Daneshvari. Madeline is so obsessively afraid of bugs that she lives in a cloud of repellent and will not venture outdoors. Neurotic Theodore is terrified of death, and outspoken Lulu is claustrophobic. Although he is a good-looking and successful sports figure at school, Garrison is so paralyzed by the mere thought of water that he breaks out in a cold sweat if he even sees a lake in the distance. These youngsters are sent to the School of Fear during the summer to overcome their phobias. The four "contestants," as they are called by the school's headmistress and only teacher Mrs. Wellington, have the scariest summer of their lives. Mrs. Wellington is an outrageous ex-beauty queen who hasn't the vaguest idea of how to teach students. The school is chaotic, secretive, and a terrifying conglomeration of the oddest doors and rooms you could imagine, including a "Fearnasium." Yet, by the end of summer, the four young people discover that they were wrong about Mrs. Wellington, the school, and themselves. Emma Walton Hamilton expressively reads the fast-paced action and witty repartee, giving each character a unique voice. The result is an amusing, intriguing, and slightly terrifying adventure, with a wonderful lesson for anyone who is afraid of something.—MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY
Kirkus Reviews
The course of instruction at a school for phobic children turns out to be anything but conventional in this hyperbolically arch romp. Having carried their fears to such extremes that parents, counselors and doctors are powerless to help, Madeleine (spiders and insects), Lucy (claustrophobia), Garrison (water) and Theo (death) find themselves trucked off to an isolated Massachusetts mansion. Its facilities include a well-stocked "Fearnasium," breakfast consists of "casu frazigu" (maggot cheese) sandwiches produced by a blind and crusty octogenarian cook/caretaker and the teacher is Mrs. Wellington, an ancient ex-beauty queen who claims to be able to train cats. Daneshvari takes this setup and runs with it, injecting plenty of droll dialogue and plunging the four students into one challenging, chaotic situation after another. Gifford's fine-lined vignettes add suitably tongue-in-cheek visual notes. The children prove more resilient than even they expect, and the closing revelation that Mrs. Wellington's boast is actually true is just one of several surprises that the author springs at the end. Look for plenty of eye-rolling and head-shaking from urbane readers. (Fiction. 11-13)
AudioFile
"Scott Brick is perfect as narrator-cool, calm, and collected through murder, theft, and conspiracy at the highest levels of society. The dialogue grips the listener as Brick's voice pulses with tension and deception."
From the Publisher
"Scott Brick is perfect as narrator-cool, calm, and collected through murder, theft, and conspiracy at the highest levels of society. The dialogue grips the listener as Brick's voice pulses with tension and deception."—AudioFile

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316071178
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Series:
School of Fear , #1
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
140,913
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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