In the grand tradition of childhood adventures executed free from adult interference, this graphic novel takes readers on escapades involving two young monster hunters and the ghosts, goblins, and other wicked beasties lurking in the underbelly of their city.
Reluctantly relocated to a fictional location reminiscent of New York City, Charles takes up residence with his mother and father in a dilapidated historic hotel where he soon makes two new friends: Kevin, a black boy determined to set a world record of some sort, and Margo Maloo, self-styled “monster mediator,” a brown-skinned, pointy-featured girl whose glossy black hair flips in a manner strangely reminiscent of the collar of Dracula's cape. Charles is an endearing underdog, a chubby white boy who alphabetizes his personal library by subject and pours his aspiring journalistic ambitions into his blog. Over the course of three chapters, Margo helps Charles with the monster that emerges from his closet and, after some badgering, allows him to tag along as she answers pleas from other monster-plagued humans. Frequent humorous touches temper the fear factor for younger readers, while references to more advanced concepts such as gentrification add depth for older ones. Clever dialogue enhances this intriguing and multilayered story set in a fully realized world of monster and human coexistence.
A tough, ambitious, and courageous heroine is always welcome, and Margo and Charles are an odd couple kids will enjoy rooting for. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)