School of Fear

Author:  Gitty Daneshvari

Reading Range:  6.2 (AR

Interest Range: 4-6 (

Plot:  After annoying their families with their fears, four children are forced by their families to go to the School of Fear during the summer.  This school is hidden and kept secret from anyone who could learn about it.  There they are forced by their ex-beauty queen headmistress, Mrs. Wellington, to face their worst fears.  Madeleine is afraid of spiders. Theo is afraid of death. Lulu is afraid of small spaces. Garrison is afraid of deep water.  Mrs. Wellington’s six-week curriculum is either going to cure their fears or kill them. Is she just insane or an insane genius? A tragedy forces them to band together to save Mrs. Wellington’s beloved bulldog, Macaroni (Mac), and the school. Can they put aside their fears and band together?

Review:  This is a funny book that exaggerate common fears people have.  It does show how fear can limit the lives of people even if it is exaggerated. Madeleine is so afraid of insects that she cannot live without her bug spray the veils she wears to keep bugs away from her. Theo cannot stand not knowing where his family is in case one of them dies. Lulu cannot go into an elevator or any small place. Garrison lives in Florida and they have hurricanes in Florida. What is interesting is that even through Mrs. Wellington seems crazy she sometimes has good insights when she tells Garrison that working through fear is a process and if his father cannot handle that his fear of Garrison’s fear says more about him then Garrison. This book left me smiling at the end and eager to read the next one.

Additional Info:  The first book in the “School of Fear’ series.

Main Characters:

Madeleine Masterson-Madeleine is from London, England.  She is so scared of insects and spiders, she has to cover herself head to toe in bug spray. She is not able to work around without her veil.

Theodore Bartholomew-Theo is from New York city where he lives with his parents and brothers and sisters.  He is so afraid of death and dying he has his family check-in with him nearly every hour. He knows a lot of facts about accidents and death which he annoys people with.

Lulu Punchalower-Lulu is from Providence, Rhode Island.  She lives with her parents and brother. She is tough and with strong views but she has claustrophobia.

Garrison Feldman-He lives in Florida with his parents. He is the star athlete but no one knows his deep, dark secret-his fear of water. He hides this fear because he is afraid of losing his popularity. He finds School of Fear so that he can face his fears.

Mrs. Wellington-The headmistress of School of fear. She founded it and has successful treated nearly every children who came to her except for one. Her curriculum is unusual.

Schmidty-the caretaker.

Macaroni-Or Mac as he is known. He is a bulldog who can sleep electronics.

Themes:  Empowerment, Fear of failure, Overcoming fear

Bibliographic Info:

Daneshvari, G. (2009). School of fear. New York, NY: Scholastic

Tagline: Everyone’s afraid of something. . .


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