Fright Month Post #1: Let’s Get Scared!

In October, we’ll review books and series that ooze with delicious creepy crawlies, heebie geebies and chilly willies.



By Troy Cummings


Published by: Scholastic Inc. (June 25, 2013)

Available in: paperback, library binding, Kindle, NOOK

At the time of this review there were five books in The Notebook of Doom series.


BalloonGoonsCover Creepy.

The Notebook of Doom #1: Rise of the Balloon Goons is creepy right from the start. Page one talks  about “squishy guts” and “googly eyes.” It’s a delightful shock that hooks the reader with eerie glee. Both comic and frightening, this story rolls to a pressurized climax that is sure to keep new readers both enthralled and on the edge of the couch.

This series is part of Scholastic’s excellent chapter book line, Branches, many of which highlight extremely talented author/illustrators. The Notebook of Doom’s creator, Troy Cummings, shows laser insight into what gets kids interested both in words and visuals. The illustrations, which are liberally splattered on every page, are positively athletic in their flexibility. In some scenes, the black and white drawings are ghostly pale and spooky. And then, BAM!, just at the right time and with spot-on tone, the illustrations are in-your-face funny. Sometimes reminiscent of retro, stop-motion animation, the art hits just the right note of classic scary and graphic-novel, slap-dash humor.

It’s interesting to me that Alexander Bopp, our endearing protagonist, bears some resemblance to another chapter book character, Alvin Ho. Both are young men who are afraid and like lists. I like the comparison and the story structure for both series.

What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….

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