A spooky, scary, and satisfying horror story.

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Monster Zombies Are Coming for Johnny

Two friends combat a zombie invasion in this middle-grade novel. 

When Johnny wakes up for school one morning, he assumes it will be a normal day. Sure, he had a creepy dream the night before, but it was nothing that his mother couldn’t fix. The day starts out like any other—he gets on the bus; says hello to Ms. Eisenstein, the driver; and pinches his friend Alex, who is weirdly catatonic. At school, she drops the boys off, and everything is strangely desolate. That’s when Alex and Johnny see it—a grotesque humanoid monster, dripping green goo and searching for human flesh. It even consumes the basketball coach right in front of their eyes. Alex and Johnny find Ms. Eisenstein, who drives them into the woods to escape, but when she crashes the bus, they all think they’re goners. She disappears, and Alex and Johnny must concoct Plan B. Alex is soon taken by a zombie, but not before the boys find out that the monsters can be defeated by fire. Johnny tries to confront the zombie leader, who turns out to be Ms. Eisenstein. She’s plotting to erase the town of humans, but Johnny vows that he won’t let that happen. Can he defeat this plague of zombies and get his friends and family back? Shah’s (Bradley Boogers Slides Down the Nose Cave, 2016, etc.) tale is certainly imaginative, but it is definitely too gruesome for younger readers. With passages describing zombies eating Johnny’s friends and various townspeople, it’s sure to cause a nightmare or two. Luckily, for older kids, the work is a frightening delight. The author paints a wonderfully disgusting image of a zombie assault, and readers (especially horror fans) should enjoy the episodes of Johnny and Alex trying to avoid these subhuman creatures. The one caveat? The book would have been more intriguing if the zombies didn’t speak—they are particularly brainless creatures, and it’s more chilling if they don’t have ulterior motives for consuming a whole town of people. But overall, this spirited novel offers an engaging introduction (or return visit) to the world of horror—just get ready for young readers to start clamoring to watch The Walking Dead

A spooky, scary, and satisfying horror story.

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943684-18-2

Page Count: 102

Publisher: 99 Pages or Less Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...

WAITING FOR THE BIBLIOBURRO

Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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