Monday, January 7, 2019

The Last Kids on Earth

The Last Kids on Earth
by Max Brallier
illustrated by Douglas Holgate
Recommended Ages: 11+

During a fit of not being able to stand looking at their covers on the book rack at Walmart any longer, I bought this book and the previously reviewed Pottymouth and Stoopid one day and read them both before the day was out. Speaking of this book in particular, it was a fun, fast-paced diversion with amusing illustrations about a group of kids fighting to survive the zombie-and-monster apocalypse that has otherwise wiped out their town. The hero group includes a sometime foster kid named Jack, who now lives full-time in a treehouse; his nerdy best friend Quint, who has been studying different kinds of monsters and developing sciency weapons to use on them; school bully Dirk, who used to terrorize them, but who turns out to be a good guy to have on your side when school's out forever; June, the girl Jack has had a crush on since he came to town, and who turns out not to need as much saving as he'd hoped; and Rover, a devil dog who becomes kind of a pet. Together, they must survive swarms of brain-eating ghouls, giant mutant creatures and, biggest and baddest of all, the uncannily canny Blarg.

Told in a format that freely shifts between straight text and graphic novel panels, the story mines thrills and laughs both from Jack's adventures and from the way he imagines them, and himself, as more in line with a comic book hero's exploits. He doesn't let the fact that he's just a kid armed with little more than sports equipment get him down – at least, not for long. The promise of more to come is a welcome one, as the series starting with this book continues with The Zombie Parade, The Nightmare King, The Cosmic Beyond and, due out later this year, The Midnight Blade.

Brallier is also the author of such middle school readers' titles as Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? and its sequel Highway to Hell, The Galactic Hot Dogs trilogy (second book: The Wiener Strikes Back), two Lego Nexo Knights Academy books, and some humorous nonfiction such as Reasons to Smoke and Reasons to Drink. Under the pen-name Jack Chabert, he has also written 10 books in the Eerie Elementary series. Holgate, who hails from Australia, is also the illustrator of Something's Amiss at the Zoo.

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