Review Detail

charming and odd story that will appeal to the middle grade audience
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
A SMALL ZOMBIE PROBLEM is a charming story in the vein of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS and Tim Burton. August is a boy who has lived his whole life in a dilapidated house. He likes to create skeleton figurines. His family had an empire based on hot sauces, which ended, and now, he lives with his aunt who is stuck in the past, wearing her Miss Chili Pepper Princess tiara and sash still today. His aunt is terrified of butterflies, which is particularly unfortunate, since he has a chemical anomaly where he secretes something that attracts butterflies. Whenever he goes outside, he is swarmed by butterflies.

One day, August breaks the rules and does venture outside, where he meets three boys. Shortly following, he receives an invitation from an aunt he never knew he had, and he decides to take it. Along the way, he accidentally creates a zombie of his great-aunt Claudette who died when she was a girl. Thinking he looks similar to her older brother, Claudette proceeds to follow him around while he tries to discover how to solve his small zombie problem.

Ultimately charming and funny, the story follows August as he ventures outside the house and discovers new things about the world and people he never would have expected. Left open-ended for the next book in the series, this book has high appeal including the illustrations that perfectly capture key scenes and items throughout.

What I loved: This was a giggle-worthy book that creates many laughs throughout. While it may be very light horror (owing to the zombie's presence), the zombie was possibly the most charming character in the book, whereas some of the living people were less so. This contrast adds some extra delight to an overall intriguing premise.

August is also a great main character, and it was entertaining to see the world through his eyes. Although his family is a little strange, he has a lot of caring and kindness to share that I look forward to seeing more of. This is a light and fun read, complete with some fantastic illustrations that really bring the story and characters to life.

Final verdict: Overall, this is a delightful and charming book about August, his family, and his new, small zombie problem. Highly recommend for any middle grade readers looking for something unique, a little bit odd, and with some light laughs.
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