Friday, May 4, 2012

Rat Brain Fiasco

Rat Brain Fiasco (Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys #1)
Julie Gordon Berry and Sally Faye Gardener
Grosset & Dunlap, 2010
$6.99, Paperback
March 4th, 2012

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Humor
Age: 8+
Description: His principal has had enough and demands that his parents send him to Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys so Cody Mack finds himself in a creepy old Cadillac with creepy old Headmaster Farley on his way to his new boarding school. When there, he learns this school is a bit odd—the nurse tries to inject him with a needle, a teacher seemed to be “plugged” in before he went on duty, and no one is allowed outside after nightfall. Cody can’t stand to be locked up. After a failed escape attempt, he overhears the teachers talking and realizes who—or rather what—they are—all monsters with a plan to switch the boys’ brains with those of highly trained rats! Stealing the Cadillac Cody convinces the boys to make a run for it which fails when the monsters appear in their natural form and capture the boys. The next day Cody is forced to undergo the Rebellio-Rodent Reciprocator and trade brains with a rat. Will he and the rest of the boys find a way to switch back or will Cody’s parents believe the Headmaster and love Cody’s new “reformed” ways?
Opinion: Splurch Academy is a fun take on a boarding school story. All the teachers are bad monsters but, as readers find out, there is one good monster in the bunch—the Headmaster’s mother who doesn’t approve of his teaching methods. It will be interesting to see how the story plays out in other volumes (currently up to four). I think this is also a good read for reluctant readers because the book is an illustrated fiction—it features cartoonish illustrations throughout and also has some scenes drawn in comic book fashion with adds fun to the story.

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