Sweet, happy baby Kyle is a babysitter’s dream, until the evening after a mysterious storm, when he becomes a little terror—literally!
In this first book of the Babysitting Nightmares series aimed at preteens who like contemporary stories with a fright, sixth-grader Rebecca Chin finds her babysitting job grows considerably harder when her favorite baby behaves increasingly strangely. Rebecca, her three best friends, Clio, Tanya, and Maggie, and Clio’s aunt follow mysterious clues and research the supernatural to conclude that Kyle has been kidnapped by the Night Queen and replaced with a changeling. Kyle’s only hope is for the girls to enter the Nightmare Realm themselves to rescue him. Deliciously creepy clues, mysterious happenings, and downright harrowing monsters make for a fun and frightful break in the lives of these average girls, and a final showdown of wits and courage sets the stage for future encounters with the Night Queen. The ensemble cast of characters with diverse backgrounds and interests, including some interpersonal tension, also sets up future installments. (Rebecca’s Chinese-American, Clio’s black, Tanya’s brown-skinned, and Maggie’s white.) Unfortunately, some of the scary fun is tempered by the sporadic, uninspired illustrations that do not do the details in the prose justice. Nevertheless, this is a fizzy option for readers interested in dipping a toe into the horror genre.
Frightful (but not too frightful) fun for preteens. (Horror. 9-12)