Title: The Bailey School Kids #31 – “Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream,” a.k.a. “Local Children Harass Depressed College Student”
Authors: Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
Illustrator: John Steven Gurney
Summary: There are some pretty weird grown-ups living in Bailey City. But could the new worker at Burger Doodle with very pale skin and sad eyes really be a ghoul spying for a family of vampires? The Bailey School Kids are going to find out!
“Scout said she works for a family,” Liza said with a gulp. “Maybe it’s a whole family of vampires.”
“Don’t tell me you think a whole batty family is going to swoop into Bailey City as soon as a ghoulish spy finds them a nest?” Eddie said.
“That’s it!” Howie shouted. “Mrs. Jeepers is bringing more vampires to Bailey City.”
Eddie rolled his eyes. “That’s a bunch of bat poop. After all, ghouls don’t scoop ice cream.”
And now we venture into a YA horror series slightly better known than the other non-Goosebumps books I’ve recapped. “The Bailey School Kids” was aimed at a reading group one level below the Goosebumps audience, which makes sense given how incredibly short they are along with the use of illustrations.
The broad premise focuses on a group of four children, sensible Melody, smart Howie, scaredy Liza, and annoying Eddie, as they find themselves surrounded by odd and creepy adults who may or may not be monsters and other sorts of creatures.
Is the albino art teacher with braces actually an alien trying to steal color from the planet Earth?
Is the new lunch lady who looks inexplicably like Bette Midler really Cupid serving up love potions in time for Valentine’s Day?
Is Mr. Jenkins, the virile camp counselor with a love for rare burgers and late night strolls, a werewolf?
The thing is, the kids are never able to prove if these people are monsters, ghosts, aliens, or other types of creatures. But then again, they’re never able to prove they AREN’T.
The only other reoccurring character is their teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, a redheaded Eastern European woman with a love for polka dots and who might be a vampire. It’s believed she’s capable of surviving in sunlight because her green brooch she wears on her collar has magical powers.
The series is pretty infamous due to the outrageous covers from the original print run and how utterly scandalized and shocked the kids appear in response to whatever new person they’re investigating.
I used to own a fair number of these back in the day, but at some point I ended up giving them away because it was believed I was too old for them (you wouldn’t believe the fit my mom had when I bought one in Barnes & Noble back when I was in middle school). As of right now, counting this book I own three. I remembered this was one of my favorites mainly because of Scout, the depressed ice cream worker who may or may not be a vampire’s ghoul. I bought the book again a couple of months ago specifically for this recap. And I made sure I got the original print because, no offense to the artist of the reissues, you just can’t beat that level of outrage.
[Wing: That cover is adorable. I’ve never read any of these books, so I’m excited to see what this series brings to the table.]