Theodore Bartholomew
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Death and dying

Lives in

Manhattan, New York

Theodore "Theo" Bartholomew is a thirteen-year-old boy from New York City, with thanatophobia, the fear of death. He is the youngest of the seven Bartholomew children. Theo had always been safety-conscience, carrying a first-aid kit with smelling salts in his pockets. Theo's fear reached its peak after his grandmother's funeral, prompting him to keep a notebook labled "Dead or Alive" and to carve time out of his day to text his brothers and sisters hourly to see if the were dead or alive. Theo's brother Joaquin and two others often texted back "dead" as a joke. After believing death to be contagious, he wore a ski mask to his grandmother's funeral. He also looked for ways that members of his family could often die. For example, he noted that his sister, Nancy, went out with only a sweater, and Theo speculated that she could catch a cold, lower her immune system, contact meningitis, and contaminate the whole family. In class is not dismissed!, he has a “hall monitor“ strip on his suit.

Theo's parents never realized how serious his thantophobia was until his parents went on a camping trip and Theo told the forest ranger there was a forest fire so he could go and check on them. When Theo wanted to check on his parents again, he told the forest ranger that he had "the psychic gift" and knew his parents were in trouble. This is when his parents decided to send him to School of Fear.

During Theo's session at School of Fear, he often sprouts death statistics and is very melodramatic. He always seems to be asking if he can contact his parents, much to Mrs. Wellington's dismay, arising from Mrs. Wellington's dislike of connected cell phones. He often annoyed Mrs. Wellington, and caused her lips to change colors. During the set-up, Theo showed bravery and need for food when helping his friends track down Munchauser, and easily got over his thanatophobia.

Theo is known to be passionate about his appearance. He tells Lulu that it's so hot, he lost all his water weight, making him feel like a model. Lulu says that he doesn't look like a model and Theo says that he's done some modeling in his time. He reveals that he modeled for a children's magazine in the article Bagel Boys: the True Tale of Children Addicted to Carbohyrates. Also, when the kids are trying to help Abernathy, it is noted that Theo was in charge of his wardrobe, being a self-appointed fashionista.  

He was granted a family plot by Mrs. Wellington, so in death they will still be together, in which he replied it's the weirdest, most amazing, most morbid gift ever. 

At the end of the 2nd book he does cheerleading, causing the others to burst into hysterics. Theo said it was okay to laugh, but it is noted that he was a little embarrassed.  

In the third book, when Sylvie Montgomery is about to interview Abernathy about his stepmother, Theo boldly stands in front of Mrs. Wellington, acting as a human shield against the false statements said against her. Garrison, impressed by Theo's brave gesture, joins him in protecting their teacher.  


- He takes death very seriously. He once thought his brother was dead when Joaquin texted him dead.

- Despite him being afraid of death he is overweight, which increases a person's chance of sickness.

- Theo is noted to never laugh. He takes things too seriously.

- The Bartholomews apparently have a cat, as Theo mentions that his cat has asthma in the second book.

- Only two of Theo's six siblings' names are revealed: Joaquin, who is nineteen, and Nancy, who is Theo's eldest sister.