Friday, 27 September 2013

Ghouls in School

Ghouls in School
(Spook Squad)
Roger Hurn
Winchester, Ransom, 2013, 46p

I have had a large box of short reads sat on my desk for almost three months now, as they are waiting to be covered in protective plastic. As they are just within reach, I am working my way through them, grabbing for one any time I need a quick read during a quiet break. 

The Spook Squad is a brilliant series, all of which are on Accelerated Reader. They are targeted at young female readers who like scary stories, claiming to be "adventures too scary for boys". The protagonists are a group of intelligent, fun girls - all with slightly different personalities, perfect for girls to find one to relate to.

You can probably guess what Ghouls in School is about. Roxy, Emma, Leena and Nita arrive at their lockers to find them glued together. It looks like a practical joke, but soon they find themselves getting the blame. Throughout the school, strange things are happening, and no one is sure of who is responsible.

I am constantly impressed by the ability of some writers to get a whole story into less than 50 pages, with illustrations taking up a lot of the space. Such books are a hugely supportive of the more challenged reader, with the words in large fonts spaced out across the page, and images to help with the visual side of reading.

This series also has little biographies of the characters at the beginning, detailing elements of their personalities. The word counts are so limited that this really helps with character development, and the female readership of this series will benefit from having a character to relate to. There is also a pages of spooky jokes and a map of Otherworld, where some of the stories are set.

Now, I really should get on with actually preparing these books so the students can read them, too!

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