A spooky, scary, and satisfying horror story.

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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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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