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The Demon Headmaster (The Demon Headmaster #1)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,248 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Dinah moves in with the Hunter family and starts going to the same school as her foster-brothers Lloyd and Harvey. It's not easy, as they seem to hate her, and school is really strange. Pupils suddenly talk like robots and do weird things - even Dinah finds herself acting oddly.

She's sure the headmaster has some kind of power over them, and is determined to find out more.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1982)
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Mortal Engines by Philip ReeveSaffy's Angel by Hilary McKayHis Dark Materials by Philip PullmanA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson BurnettBallet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Best of UKMG Fiction
63rd out of 105 books — 25 voters
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy BlumeMiss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry AllardNo English by Jacqueline JulesSchool Stories by Elinor M. Brent-DyerThe Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross
Books for Kids With a School Setting
5th out of 8 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,729)
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The demon headmaster is a very spooky book that will captivate children from the start. Dinah Glass starts at a new school and finds it to be very out of the ordinary. None of the children play typical games in the playground; they just stand around in circles, memorising multiplication tables and dates of kings and queens of England. Her two new foster brothers seem very nervous of the Headmaster and she soon finds out why when she meets him herself. Tall and thin in his black gown, with white ...more
...and by Demon Cross really means Mean and Scary. There are no actual demonic entities, and no souls are eternally damned in the making of this book.

In fact, it isn't even very scary -- rather unrealistically so, given the premise. I mean, imagine you are little kid at a new school. Your new foster brothers drop ominous hints and are clearly afraid of the headmaster and other students. On your first day, all the other kids are strangely regimented and won't speak to you. You get physically man
Praiz Sophyronja
I read this in 2005/06 over and over again! I just stumbled onto it on my TL. Damn, this is so nostalgic...
I haven't revisited this classic since I first read it in the 80s. It is certainly as good, and as creepy, as I remember. Unlike my 80s self though, I did feel some sympathy towards the Headmaster, and feel that if he were in charge of running Britain rather than the current 'coalition' government, the country would be in a much better state. And if the Headmaster was in charge of schools today there would be no texting in class, smoking, etc, etc. Just good old fashioned Learnin' Stuff. With a ...more
I first picked up The Demon Headmaster when I was in Grade 2, and of course, my grade 2 self loved it. It contained everything... suspense, supernatural, action, and most importantly, an evil villian that was easy to relate to. I mean, it's not uncommon for a 7/8 year-old to have dreams of world domination.

It’s been quite a few years, and this book has been imposed onto me as a compulsory reader. The following is written from my current perspective.

Firstly, I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this
Livash Ramduth
My second review is of Gillian Cross’s story, The Demon Headmaster. This story is largely set in a school environment which is ideal in allowing students to utilise their imaginations as it’s a setting they are familiar with. The story follows Dinah Glass, a new student at school, and she finds it a very strange place right from the start. The children seem different; the games they play aren’t those that Dinah expected. In fact, the children seem to spend play time just memorising facts and rec ...more
Dinah Glass starts a new school where things are very strange. The children act in a robotic and unnerving way, seemingly lead by the strange, fierce and intimidating headmaster. Dinah begins to suspect that something is not quite right in the school, particularly surrounding the headmaster. When she voices her concern to her peers they all reply with exactly the same phrase, 'the headmaster is a wonderful man...'The story unfolds and Dinah finds that her suspicions were correct, this is no ordi ...more
Carina Mcdonagh
'The Demon Headmaster' by Gillian Cross is an exciting story that both boys and girls would enjoy. It is the first of a series of books based on Dinah's war with the headmaster of her school, who uses his powers of hypnotism to try to take over the whole country through television. Dinah and her gang named 'SPLAT', who are immune to the headmaster's powers of hypnotism, plot to stop him. This book is suitable for children of 9 years and above, because of the theme of hypnotism which may be sligh ...more
Sati Marie Frost
Dinah has just been fostered by the Hunter family, and all she wants is to keep her head down and get along. The Hunter boys - Lloyd, who is Dinah's age, and Harvey, a few years younger - don't seem very welcoming, although their parents are nice. But Dinah's biggest shock comes at school. The children act like robots and the prefects are hopped up on their own power and think nothing of doling out cruel and unusual punishments for the slightest infraction. But the headmaster - he's the really d ...more
Aine O'riordan
The Demon Headmaster is a witty entertaining story in which the headmaster of a school has demon powers and wants to take over the world. He has piercing light green eyes, which he normally hides behind dark-tinted glasses — removing these in order to hypnotise his victim(s).
Dinah Glass (the main character) moves in with Lloyd and Harvey Hunter and at first does not like them. Soon she discovers that at her new school, the Headmaster is very strange and she finds herself saying things like, "I
Matthew Don
On the surface, The Demon Headmaster is a ever so slightly depressing, creepy book about a hypnotising, evil headteacher with plans for world domination. However, delve deeper, and you may find Gillian Cross has raised some important issues (social control, about the fact that the music we listen to, the television programmes we worship and the books we read influence our daily lives in more than one way, and about discipline and creativity... Slightly unnerving for a simple, short children's bo ...more
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It's been a long time since I even thought about The Demon Headmaster. I read this when I was younger and I'm pretty sure I read the others in the series, though I remember nothing about them. I also used to watch the tv show. This is supposed to be a horror story for children though I've never found it scary, now or then. It's a good story, a school of children are being hypnotized by the Headmaster to be orderly. However some of the children can't be hypnotized and they discover the Headmaster ...more
A good read. A storyline that will keep you at the edge of your seat, drinking in every word, wanting to know what is going to happen next.

It is about six friends setting out to discover the under lying reasons behind this new craze-The Hunky Parker craze. It seemed that it was everywhere; this ugly, slimy looking pig’s face had this unique ability to put people in a trance. People going crazy buying Hunky Parker t-shirts and trainers to pencil sharpeners and books. It was weird.

It was then th
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In het Nederlands gelezen: Het demonische schoolhoofd.

Erg goed geschreven boek dat spannend blijft tot het eind, en de wisselwerking tussen de kinderen is erg leuk. Er zijn regelmatig grappige stukjes in het boek; met name de gekke scheldwooren van Lloyd, zoals "gebakken bloemkoolworsten!", zijn erg leuk. Maar de hoofdnoot is toch spanning. Het gaat over Dinah, die in een pleeggezien woont bij de tweeling Lloyd en Harvey. Als ze op school komt, merkt ze dat de leerlingen bijna als robots gehoorz
Dinah an orphan finds herself cast into unfamiliar territory when she is placed with a foster family. Used to playing the system and concealling how clever she really is from her peers and elders, Dinah now feels the system is playing her and that somehow it is all connected to the head master of her strange new school. Relying on her suspicious new foster siblings Lloyd and Harvey, can Dinah and the rest of the splat club get to the bottom of everyone's odd behaviour at school and foil the evil ...more
Sean Randall
I'd always wanted to read this again, but would never pay for it given that it was a very expensive eBook and it renders down to only 57 minutes long when I actually come to listen to it. I first heard a cassette version, abridged, and played it time and time again as a kid.

As with my potter replays, I kept hearing the voice in my head, which was quite nostalgic. The story is also quite fun, of course, as a child the idea rather appealed to me and I still think it's a clever idea, though natural
3.5/4 Stars. A very entertaining read. Good characterization and well written.Great plot and execution. I was just a little wary of the ending. I think the author could have added even more pizzazz into this plot. She had everything it which is made it good, but i think with a dash of more darkness, humour and a sliver of a psychological thriller, so basically if it was a lot more adult/mature it would have just blown me out of the water.

Overall I recommend it. I would like to read it again to s
Leah Liapi
Its really good because I like mysterious adventures and this is the book that has lots.
This used to give me chills as a kid, esp the audiobook :D
I read the Demon Headmaster series when I was 9/10 years old and at the time, I absolutely loved it!
The prospect of having an evil headmaster intrigued my very own principal at the time who'd always mention this series when he'd stroll into class for observations.

I loved Dinah and her two brothers - they were all so kick-ass and the plot was exhilarating and page-turning. I remember devouring the series, book after book and I definitely look forward to picking it up again.
M.M. Vaughan
This was one of my favourite books at school. I loved the whole 'perfect' school idea - the kids in the playground standing in groups reciting facts, the impeccably behaved pupils and, of course, the very creepy headmaster. There are no ghouls, monsters or even demons (in the horror book sense), and that's what makes it so appealing. This could, with only a little stretch of the imagination, be your school.

Great read, highly recommended.
I think that this is a book that children enjoy more than adults. Especially recommended for Y4-5, where a dislike for unfair and arbitrary rules and the desire to stand up to them begins, but I found this book lacking in suspense and real thrills. However, the children I've taught have generally enjoyed it, both boys and girls, and this is a rare thing in guided reading books.
I remember reading this book at school, in KS2 at some point. This was a good book but more about standing upto and hints evil. The evil headmaster used his eyes to hypnotise children to make them behave like robots, until a girl determines to break this pattern with the hlp of her step brothers. The book is a good read. There are no illustrations o captivate younger readers.
kesannya mirip2 pas baca buku "Otak para genius" itu, cuma yg ini agak "syerem", ceritanya sih gak serem, cuma ntah kenapa daku kayak ikut ke dalam buku itu, jadi serasa terhipnotis juga gitu...pokoke jadi parno gitu deh :P eh, kebalik gak yah ama buku yg satunya? ;) lupa2 ingat sih, mo baca lagi bukunya dah ntah dimana...dipinjem temen adik, hilang tak berjejak :(
Louise Rose-Innes
Read this with my son and absolutely loved it. So did he. He's nine years old and this book had just the right combination of intrigue and mystery. We were hooked from the first moment the new girl attends the strange school, where all the prefects are perfectly in control and none of the students do anything naughty - almost like they were being controlled...
This is a play script. I enjoyed this play very much. Because of the authors imagination. I rate this play for kids from 9 onwards because smaller kids might not understand the play. I rated 4 out of 5 stars because although it was a good play it had some parts that in my opinion could be beter.
Edward Davies
Such a simple idea that every child has imagined before and since - that one of their teachers is evil - is executed expertly for the children's market by Cross. It's just a shame these peaked in book two.
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Gillian Cross was born Gillian Arnold in 1945. She was educated at North London Collegiate School, Somerville College, Oxford and the University of Sussex. Although now a full-time writer who often travels and gives talks in connection with her work, she has had a number of informal jobs including being an assistant to a Member of Parliament. For eight years she also sat on the committee which adv ...more
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