This week's Frightful Friday is a bit late. My son was under the weather on Friday, so I kept him home from school. I'm happy to report that he's mostly bounced back. I originally had a different selection in mind for this week, but having him home brought a different favorite to mind: the Eerie Elementary book series. He's been a horror fan since he was five. It all started with Scooby-Doo. Then it branched out to scary video games. The past few years have been a hunt for age-appropriate spooky games, stories, and shows.
I found a new appreciation for the horror genre when I looked at it from this perspective. For example, an appropriately timed jump scare can be surprisingly satisfying.
The horror stories I like best have a good mystery at their core. Say, that sounds a lot like Scooby-Doo.
Eerie Elementary is part of Scholastic's Branches line of chapter books for newly independent readers. As a parent of a reluctant reader, I love Branches books. They make reading less of a chore for kids who would rather be doing something else.
Third-grader Sam Graves is less than thrilled when he finds out he's been selected as Eerie Elementary's newest hall monitor. That is, until he finds out the school is a living entity with an appetite for students. Mentored by Mr. Nekobi, the school's elderly janitor and previous hall monitor, Sam is able to anticipate when it will attack. When his two best friends, Lucy and Antonio, find out what's really going, they volunteer to help him protect the students from the school
Jack Chabert, better known as Max Brallier (The Last Kids on Earth), keeps the narrative interesting throughout the series by slowly revealing the mystery behind the school's living state. He does this through the research and investigation of the three friends. It's not necessary to read the books in order, but it's more enjoyable if you do. In each installment, they face physical and mental challenges while learning more information to fight the school.I also loved the themes of friendship and collaboration in this series. Initially, Sam worries that Lucy and Antonio won't want to be friends with him anymore when they find out about his dangerous new responsibility. As true friends, they resolutely step up to help bear the burden. The three of them support and encourage each other. No one gets left behind, even when things get really bad.