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Fright Club – Book Review


Fright Club

 Written and illustrated by Ethan Long and published by Bloomsbury. This is a board book for older kids, aged around 4 to 8. It is also available in paperback.

Also available on Book Depository: Fright Club

The Book

Part graphic novel, part standard picture book, this story is about a club for monsters. There’s a mummy, a vampire, a witch and a ghost, among others. Their mission: to be as scary as possible this Halloween and give the kids a good fright. But their club meeting is interrupted by an adorable little bunny who knocks on the door and asks to join. The monsters send him packing, claiming that only monsters can be scary. But they aren’t prepared when the bunny returns, first with a lawyer and then with a host of other woodland creatures, who prove that, in fact, anyone can be scary. The monsters concede and realize that with more members, their club will be able to give the kids an extra good scare on Halloween.

The Pros:

The illustrations are lots of fun and for an older child who needs easy books which still appeal to their more mature stage of development, it’s a great option. The writing is small in places, but very simple and various words and phrases are repeated, which helps to consolidate them. The themes are more advanced than a lot of first readers. They include the concept of protests, litigation and prejudice, as well as the idea that judging based on appearance is not a very smart thing to do. The comic-style illustrations and speech bubbles are also winners for this group of readers. A four year old will still enjoy this book for the spooky characters and the humour when the tables are turned on the monsters. They won’t pick up on the themes in the same way as an independently reading eight year old will.

The Cons:

For the audience, I question the small font size in the descriptive passages (too small) and the board book format. A newly independent reader won’t want to be seen reading a board book, which is firmly associated with babies. However, it is also available in paperback. The concept of ‘scary’ dance moves – scary meaning silly or uncool – may end up dating the book a little too fast. I also question the point of introducing the lawyer fox. It seems an unnecessary addition to the story, which is not followed through in any way.

Overall:

While I enjoyed the story and illustrations, the format choice seemed a little too odd to me. I’d like to see this as a proper book in the style of Paul Jennings’ Pete the Dragon books.

Our Rating (channelling our love of ice cream, our rating system works the way we like our ice cream: the more scoops the better. Besides, good books should be devoured!

Best = four scoops):

two scoops icecream

Two scoops. Nice for a snack!

 

*****

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