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THE FILTH LICKER by Cristy Burne

THE FILTH LICKER

From the Takeshita Demons series, volume 2

By Cristy Burne (Author) , Siku (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-84780-136-4
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

A trio of whirling weasel assassin spirits with Freddy Krueger–style claws ambush a Japanese-British child on an abandoned farm. Whoo-hoo!

Having dealt with a monster with a detachable head in the opening episode (Takeshita Demons, 2010), Miku is alert to the presence of other Japanese spirits who have followed her transplanted family overseas. These turn out to be dismayingly common, as a school camping trip becomes a nonstop series of encounters with supernatural creatures. These range from the comical one of the title—an “aka-na-me,” who delights in cleaning bathrooms and like places with its tongue (“Disgusting, but useful,” Miku notes)—to a malign shape-shifting fox who first orchestrates a campfire storytelling rite (Hyaku Monogatari) to create a nest of Sickle Weasels (kama itachi) then leads Miku into their midst. Salting her tale not only with Japanese folklore, but sickening odors, an abrupt power failure, classmates behaving oddly and other suspense-building elements, Burne sets up an exciting if clumsily choreographed extended battle. In it, Miku, with unexpected help from eldritch allies, vanquishes her attackers while ending up covered in soot and slime (she avoids being licked clean, but a classmate is not so lucky).

A lightweight, spooky adventure with an unusually exotic cast. (Light horror. 9-11)