School of Phantoms

Clarion. (No Place for Monsters). Sept. 2021. 368p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780358193326.
Gr 4-6–When creepy haunted snowmen show up overnight in Cowslip Grove, Levi and Kat are determined to get to the bottom of the monstrous visitors. In the first installment of the series, they defeated the Boojum King, an evil spirit from another world, and they worry that he is back to torment more children in their town. A horrendous blizzard blankets Cowslip Grove, leaving the students and teachers snowed in at school, where most end up hypnotized by the Boojum King. It’s up to Levi and Kat, who are white, to free everyone from the trance before it’s too late. This is a beautifully creepy tale that even those who haven’t read the first title will appreciate. This interactive text encourages readers to engage in the critically important skill of “reading with a discerning eye” and learning “to separate fact from hoax,” as readers are invited to play detective with the evidence provided. Merritt presents the story in a mix of black-and-white comics and prose. Varying in style from cartoonish to more realistic, images depict footage from cell phones and school security cameras, as well as a science journal of strange creatures. Illustrations enhance the tone as it shifts from spooky to comedic.
VERDICT This must-read science- and nature-infused horror story is a rare text that truly captivates and stimulates readers’ minds and imaginations.

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