Happy Monday, guys!
We're kicking off the week with The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade, the follow-up to last year's excellent The Last Kids on Earth.
I loved Max's debut last year, and was SUPER stoked when I was sent an advanced copy of the second book - I couldn't wait to delve into this weird, complex and hilarious world.
MMGM is a feature hosted by (fabulous) author Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
With good humor and a plethora of entertaining (and occasionally, squeamish creatures), the second book in this series will definitely be a surefire hit.
Readers rejoin Jack and his friends, as they continue to adjust to life in a monster-filled world, without adults and with increased monster spawns. However, when they stumble across a mystery involving rapidly disappearing zombies, Jack and company are challenged to prove their smarts and adaptability once again, as they work to get some answers...
Like The Last Kids on Earth, Brallier's book is a fun romp into the look at how young teens can adapt in a world without adults. Unlike their less-than-intelligent colleagues on shows like Fear the Walking Dead - you know it's true! - Jack and his friends are savvy and whip smart, as they work to address the mystery behind the disappearing zombies and some appearances from new characters.
Brallier cunningly shows the ability of the teens to navigate in a post-adult world, through their ingenuity in protecting themselves, and the world around them. Readers of all ages will laugh delightedly at their practical solutions to some non-practical problems - weed killer, anyone? - but also appreciate the emotional struggles that are still felt acutely by Jack and the gang.
Even though Jack is clearly making the best of a world without adults and with a plethora of disgusting (or delicious!) snack foods as sandwiches, Brallier is very clear in Jack's continued longing for human companionship, a very normal, humbling moment in an otherwise quirky series. His desire to protect his friends at the risk of his own life, and his immediate willingness to trust new strangers, are both a reminder that he's still a young teen, but that this is also still very much a story about survival in a world with constantly changing rules.
While these moments will likely be super ceded by the generally delightful and adventurous moments, it's likely going to be one of the strongest moments that readers will come alway with, especially as they wonder how they would deal in the world.
Outside of Brallier's story, the illustrations by Douglas Holgate are pitch perfect, as they were in book one. They contain all of the icky, gooey bits that one expects with a monster/zombie tale - some made me squirm, which is probably a good sign - and are sketched out with a vibrancy that brings each moment to life.
Bottom line: Brallier has followed up his debut novel with a tale that's rip-roaring good time. Younger readers will appreciate Jack's continued adventurous spirit and stealthy antics in a world gone awry with monsters, while parents and educators will appreciate the practical and pragmatic elements of the book.
About the author/illustrator:
Max Brallier (www.maxbrallier.com) is the author of more than twenty books and games. He is the creator and writer of Galactic Hot Dogs, an ongoing middle-grade web serial and book series with Aladdin. He writes for licensed properties including Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Uncle Grandpa. Under the pen name Jack Chabert, he is the creator and author of the Eerie Elementary series for Scholastic Books. In the olden days, he worked in the marketing department at St. Martin’s Press. Max lives in New York City with his wife.