For What It's Worth

Monday, July 8, 2019

Review A Small Zombie Problem (Book #1) by K.G. Campbell

In his fiction debut--and the start of a new series--celebrated illustrator K.G. Campbell brings a touch of Tim Burton to this singularly strange and wonderful story about a lonely boy whose life is about to get a whole lot more complicated when a zombie follows him home.

August DuPont has spent his whole life inside a dilapidated house with his aunt Hydrangea. His lonely existence ends abruptly with the arrival of an invitation to meet an aunt--and cousins--he didn't even know existed. When Aunt Orchid suggests that August attend school with his cousins, it's a dream come true. But August has scarcely begun to celebrate his reversal of fortune when he is confronted by a small problem on his way home. So begins an adventure filled with a wild child, a zombie, a fabled white alligator, and an unimaginable family secret. ~ Goodreads

Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

* I also borrowed the audiobook version from the library and switched between the two.

Review:

A Small Zombie Problem was an adorably quirky mid-grade novel about a lonely boy named August DuPont who lives with his Aunt Hydrangea - a women so fearful that butterflies terrify her. She keeps August sequestered to her dilapidated house, homeschooling him and mourning her glory days as the former Miss Chili Pepper Princess and barely scraping by on the sales from the last of her DuPont’s Peppy Pepper Sauce.

Aunt Hydrangea is a kind, if flighty, woman, but August is so lonely that he seeks out social cues by watching the show Stella Starz (in Her Own Life) – a twice weekly show about a California teen. He gets the opportunity to test those skills when his wealthy Aunt Orchid contacts August and invites him for a visit and an offers to send him to school with his twin cousins.

August is SO excited to go outside and his cousins but just like his aunt Hydrangea, he’s a bit strange. He likes to make paper mache sculptures, wears a bee net hat and is generally very quiet, bespectacled and squeaky sounding.

As the title implies, August picks up a small zombie problem in the form of a  young girl named Claudette who literally breaks out of her grave and starts following August everywhere. August, trying to appear as normal as possible so he can finally have friends, tries to shake her off to no avail.

August and Claudette’s interactions are the highlight of this book. They are slightly gruesome (Claudette tries to give August her eyeball as a gesture of friendship) but so sweet as he tries to find a way to send her back. His research leads him on quite the adventure involving a gemstone that can raise the dead, traitorous relatives, family secrets and an illusive white alligator.

August also learns the value of true friendship and learning to better judge a persons character. Despite his initial timidity, his blossoming confidence and protectiveness of Claudette by the end was delightful.

At times this story tries to do too much, focusing less on the zombie aspect, and instead setting up several plot points and introducing too many characters – although it all ties together in the end and sets up quite the adventure for book #2 – it might make for slow or distracted reading for little ones trying to keep track and figure out what this all leads to. I was also surprised that this book ended on such a big cliffhanger, so keep that in mind as well.

The illustrations (by the author) were fantastic and really added another element to the story. I also listened on audio and that was wonderful as well because of all the quirky characters being acted out by narrator, Todd Haberkorn. I would recommend either format – or BOTH!

Thank you again to Random House Kids for sending the book for review and inviting me on the book tour.

Purchase links: Amazon | Audible | The Book Depository | Indie Bound

Author: website | Twitter


16 comments:

  1. Lol, those are cute and weird!

    ALso FIRST; FIRST!!!!!

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    1. It's very weird but adorable! Claudette is so sweet even though she's a zombie lol

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  2. This sounds so cute! Oh no about the eyeball, hahaha. The illustrations look lovely.

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    1. It took a little while to come together but it was cute.

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  3. I have to admit that this cover is so fun and adorable, but I have a HUGE fear of anything zombie related.(lol) Hugs, RO

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    1. Ha! My husband finally brought me over to the zombie craze. I made him listen to this one with me.

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  4. Fun illustrations. This does sound like a cute read, even if it did meander a bit too much.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. It was! It all comes together too so that helps.

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  5. The illustrations really do look good.

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  6. Wow this does look quirky! And kinda fun! I haven't read a middle grade in AGES.

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    1. They are getting so clever! I've really enjoyed quite a few lately. And the artwork in this one was so cute.

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  7. This sounds so adorably quirky and fun Lauren, I'm loving middle grade reads lately and especially ones with a little adventure thrown in. Have just added it to my Goodreads and can't wait to grab a copy. Brilliant review and thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. I've been enjoying mid-grade a lot too. Have you read Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World yet? I know you would love that one too.

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  8. This is the first I’ve seen of this one and it looks like a lot of fun. The friendship between August and Claudette sounds sweet and I love the artwork!

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  9. This sounds wonderful and I love the art style. I'm going to add it to Goodreads. 👍✨

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