cover image The Fungus That Ate My School

The Fungus That Ate My School

Arthur Dorros. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-47704-8

Dorros's (Abuela; Rain Forest Secrets) hyperbolic romp is unapologetically silly, the stuff of B movies. During a particularly damp spring break, a science-class mold experiment outgrows its jar. Three elementary schoolers return from vacation to find an amorphous algae-green shape dominating the lab and library. The giant slimy thing seems to pose no threat to humans, but its purple-splotched feelers, orange-striped tentacles and hairy cilia grope the brackish schoolyard. Part of the huge organism sits at the principal's desk, waving a tardy slip in a rakish caricature; another portion works in the cafeteria, where a chalkboard menu offers ""tuna leucocephalum"" and ""peaches sporangia."" The slender plot gets lots of help from Catrow (She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!), who turns a quaint schoolhouse into a little shop of horrors. Dr. Seuss's influence can be seen in Catrow's squiggly line drawings, which feature mushroom-like trees and eccentric characters; Catrow's own signature can be detected in the sickly pink and mossy green blotches of watercolor, which effectively gross out the audience. Good for plenty of yucks. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)