May 5, 2017

The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade by Max Brallier and Douglas Holgate

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 10:39 pm by suebe2

The Last Kids on Earth
and the Zombie Parade
by Max Brallier
illustrated by Douglas Holgate
Viking

Jack Sullivan may be only 13 but he’s a world-class monster slayer.

Okay, it probably helps that he and his friends seem to be the only people left in the town of Wakefield but a lot of people evacuated when the zombies showed up.  Jack is the clever strategist and chief monster slayer.  Quint is his geeky-but-brilliant best friend.  Dirk may look like a brute but he’s the group gardener and still great in a fight.  June may be the only girl but she can definitely hold her own.  They’re pretty sure there are other people out there but they’ve got to hold out until they can seek out other survivors.

Human survivors.  Monsters aren’t at all hard to come by although the zombies are fewer and farther between.  And then they hear a horrible screaming and realize it is luring the zombies in.  What is it and why does it want the zombies?

When a monster quest goes wrong, Jack realizes that his friends would have died if it wasn’t for a huge guy (monster) called Thrull.  With skull jewelry and his massive size he’d be pretty scary if he didn’t also smell like a Cinnabon. Soon he leads the kids to a pizza parlor that has turned into monster home base.  Thrull is sure the kids will be welcome but they get the sense that something is wrong.  Someone is definitely lying to them, but who?

If you have a monster crazy tween he is hungry for zombies but most of the zombie books are too gruesome for your young reader, pick up The Last Kids on Earth.  Yes, it is about zombie.  Yes, monsters are attacked and things get a bit gooey but never overly gross or gory.

Max Braillier definitely knows his audience and when the crew ventures to the mall they visit Gamestop and later mourn the loss of the comic book store. The characters are snarky and smart mouthed but they genuinely care for each other and are willing to risk it all for a friend in trouble.

Douglas Holgate’s pen and ink drawings help bring the characters to life.  It isn’t as heavily illustrated as a graphic novel but there are spot illustrations and even some that take up most of the page in every chapter.

This book may be silly and funny but it is also about friendship and loyalty and knowing who you can trust.  Definitely worth a read and a good choice for your reluctant reader.

–SueBE

January 9, 2017

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 9:42 pm by suebe2

the-last-kids-on-earthThe Last Kids on Earth
by Max Brallier
illustrated by Douglas Holgate
Viking

It is 42 days into monster madness and Jack Sullivan is ready for some changes.  Sure, he’s a monster fighting maniac with a tricked out tree house but he’s also alone.  All around the thirteen year-old are zombies, dozers and Blarg, a strangely intelligent monster that seems determined to track Jack down.

It isn’t that Jack misses his family. How do you miss what you’ve never had?  Jack is an orphan and a foster kid and when the zombies showed up his “family” took off without him.  But Jack does miss his genius best friend.  And he’s ready to check some more feats off his list.

Yes, Jack gets that this is serious stuff.  Zombies do eat people after all.  But Jack doesn’t get why he can’t have fun.  So he’s made up a series of feats such as outrunning zombies, stealing their hats and rescuing damsel in distress, June del Torro. June just happens to be Jack’s crush and he watched from the school bus as she locked herself in the middle school.  If he can team up with his best friend, he knows that they can save her.

Jack’s in luck.  Not only does he find Quint but he survives an encounter with a bully, and even recruits the big guy for their team.  Monster dog, every boy needs a dog, in tow, they set off to rescue the damsel and discover a capable girl whose hanging at school waiting for her parents, but might be willing to come to the tree house.

Yep.  They’re letting a girl into the tree house.

In some ways this reminded me of the Wimpy Kid books but with teeth.  The voice is just as funny but the adventures are less innocent.  No, that doesn’t mean the kids are dabbling in substances or anything else too teen-after-school-special.  But they are battling zombies.  Silly zombies, goof ball zombies but deadly zombies nonetheless.

These are the perfect books for kids who want to read the zombie books written for the older kids but who just aren’t ready for the blood, gore and grief.  Part of the levity comes through Brallier’s voice which sounds like a young teen trying to talk tough but still has a great sense of humor.  Holgate’s illustrations, which look cartoony, add to the fun feel.  A good choice for the older grade school reader who isn’t ready for serious teen books.

–SueBE

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