Mild monster exposure for kids just dipping their toes in creepy.

VAMPIRE TROUBLE

From the Monster Itch series , Vol. 2

Following Ghost Attack (2017), a new spooky encounter triggers Alex’s allergies.

White Alex is on the verge of setting a new kickball home-run record. But there’s a new (exceptionally pale) recess monitor that the kids nickname Gloomy Girl, and suddenly Alex can’t stop sneezing—explosions so big they don’t just impede his kickball game, but also bring on massive, sequential humiliations. Field day is coming up, and Alex’s plan to win a trophy with his kickball skills is jeopardized by his allergies. His white cousin Sarah attempts to talk to the monitor to straighten things out only to learn that Gloomy Girl can speak directly into minds and controls an army of rats. The cousins consult The Big Book of Monsters and follow up with internet research (there’s a savvy subplot on how to evaluate online sources), determining that she’s a vampire capable of being outside on cloudy days. But they need to solve the allergy fast—Alex’s parents want to come watch field day, and if his allergist mother sees him sneezing she could pull him from all sports. Lubar’s second in his horror-lite chapter-book series features a likable protagonist whose loopy problem is, though exaggerated, similar enough to real-world ones suffered by many kids to make him easy to connect to. The agreeably zany plot winds its way to a conclusion that even includes reconciliation with a school bully.

Mild monster exposure for kids just dipping their toes in creepy. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-87349-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it.

HOW DO DINOSAURS SHOW GOOD MANNERS?

From the How Do Dinosaurs…? series

A guide to better behavior—at home, on the playground, in class, and in the library.

Serving as a sort of overview for the series’ 12 previous exercises in behavior modeling, this latest outing opens with a set of badly behaving dinos, identified in an endpaper key and also inconspicuously in situ. Per series formula, these are paired to leading questions like “Does she spit out her broccoli onto the floor? / Does he shout ‘I hate meat loaf!’ while slamming the door?” (Choruses of “NO!” from young audiences are welcome.) Midway through, the tone changes (“No, dinosaurs don’t”), and good examples follow to the tune of positive declarative sentences: “They wipe up the tables and vacuum the floors. / They share all the books and they never slam doors,” etc. Teague’s customary, humongous prehistoric crew, all depicted in exact detail and with wildly flashy coloration, fill both their spreads and their human-scale scenes as their human parents—no same-sex couples but some are racially mixed, and in one the man’s the cook—join a similarly diverse set of sibs and other children in either disapprobation or approving smiles. All in all, it’s a well-tested mix of oblique and prescriptive approaches to proper behavior as well as a lighthearted way to play up the use of “please,” “thank you,” and even “I’ll help when you’re hurt.”

Formulaic but not stale…even if it does mine previous topical material rather than expand it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36334-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver...

THE HAUNTED HOUSE NEXT DOOR

From the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series , Vol. 1

What happens if you move to a new town and your house is haunted? Andres is about to find out!

Andres Miedoso—his last name means “fearful” in Spanish—is “definitely not the coolest and bravest kid in the world.” In fact, Andres likes normal-boring and understands normal-boring, because he is normal-boring. But when the brown-skinned, curly haired Latino child and his family move to Kersville, he finds out his new home is anything but normal-boring. Fortunately, his next-door neighbor, a black boy named Desmond Cole who is the same age as Andres, is “the coolest, bravest kid in the world.” Desmond’s business as stated on his business card is “Ghost Patrol.” How lucky should a boy feel to live in a haunted house? Very—if you’re Desmond. Not so lucky if you’re Andres. But when the ghost eats a lasagna that makes him sick and tells them he’s been moving from house to house, Andres feels sorry and invites the ghost to stay as long as he promises “not to do any spooky stuff.” A deal is struck, a friendship is born, and a new series for chapter-book readers gets off to a good start.

Simple text, short chapters, and plenty of illustrations will appeal to emerging readers who prefer just a little shiver with their story—and to other readers too. (Suspense. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1039-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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