Books by Bill Basso

NIGHT OF THE LIVING GERBIL by Elizabeth Levy
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

After an overlong absence, the all-too-suggestible Bamford brothers (Frankenstein Moved in on the Fourth Floor, 1979; Dracula Is a Pain in the Neck, 1983) again let their imaginations get the better of them. In an effort to console his little brother Robert, grief-stricken after the death of his gerbil Exterminator, Sam secretly takes the corpse to Ben Winston, owner of a new bone and taxidermy shop, to be stuffed. What comes back is a little monster, rearing up on hind legs and baring shark-like teeth—and Winston's odd, too, with dark circles under his eyes and a faint chemical odor. Could he be . . . a zombie? Sam and Robert are ready to believe. An elaborate memorial service for Extermie dissolves into pandemonium when the guest of honor is unveiled and Winston himself shows up—as the Bamford brothers' divorced mother's date! The deceased, with its extended front paws and evil glare, steals the show in the sketchy, comical scenes, but it all turns out to be a misunderstanding, resolved with a round of apologies and explanations. Young chapter-book readers may stay up late to finish this, but it won't give them sleepless nights. (Fiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
BAT BONES AND SPIDER STEW by Michelle Poploff
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

paper 0-440-41440-7 Henry is going home with his new friend, Artie Doomsday, for the first time, and he's worried. It's Halloween, Artie's old house is on Haunted Hill, his sister looks like a vampire, and his grandmother is dressed like a witch. Henry develops the hiccups from nervousness, but discovers that Artie's family is perfectly nice, and despite their names for food, it's all ordinary fare, such as french fries. Hiccups cured, Henry and Artie set out for trick-or-treating. Into this pleasant First Choice Chapter Book, Poploff (Tea Party for Two, 1997, etc.) deftly inserts a series of kid-pleasing Halloween jokes—"What's a ghost's favorite drink? Ghoul-Aid"—certain to make adults groan. Basso's funny cartoon illustrations are energetic and will have children snickering over the silliness. (Fiction. 6-8) Read full book review >
THE NEW KID AT SCHOOL by Kate McMullan
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 13, 1997

In this first of the Dragon Slayers' Academy series, Wiglaf, the put-upon sensitive son in a family of louts, heads off to school along with his faithful pet pig, Daisy. On the way, he meets a wizard who gives him a magic sword, although he has forgotten the magic words to make it work, and gives Daisy the power of speech (in pig latin). Once at the Academy, Wiglaf discovers that it's not all it's advertised to be, and his first chance to slay a dragon comes all too soon. This lightweight, amusing adventure rattles right along, without pretensions and with, given the series title, a resolution that cleverly avoids violence—Wiglaf slays the dragon with bad jokes. An entertaining confection. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-10) Read full book review >