Welcome to Jennie Mayes, our guest reviewer. When Jennie recommended that Middle Grade Mojo write a review of A SMALL ZOMBIE PROBLEM, her obvious enthusiasm for this series prompted us to invite her to write the review. And now we can’t wait to read it ourselves. This is the first book in the series of three. Thanks, Jennie!
August DuPont has never been outside his falling-down ancestral home where he lives alone with his Aunt Hydrangea, a former Miss Chili Pepper Princess still reliving her glory days, right down to tiara and sash. August’s first time venturing off his property brings him into contact with an aunt and cousins that he hadn’t even known existed, and this leads to the promise of an actual friend and a real school – something he’d do anything to make happen. The catch? He must convince his popular and talented cousins that he’s normal. Tricky enough, given his upbringing, but he has another small problem: he seems to have attracted the devotion of young Claudette, who just happens to be a zombie fresh from her crypt.
In a dripping-with-atmosphere setting somewhere near New Orleans, this first in the Zombie Problems series is an action-packed Southern gothic tale perfect for younger middle grade readers. A family feud, a giant white alligator, long lost magician relatives, and the wild child granddaughter of the mysterious Madam Marvell are just some of the exotic elements in this story by illustrator/author K. G. Campbell (The Mermaid and the Shoe, Dylan the Villain). At the heart of the story is a family history of betrayal and the ultimate question: Will August be the betrayed or the betrayer?
As much as the story sings, the book’s many illustrations, especially those of the “deeply amiss” Claudette with her tendency to remove her eyeball as a gift to August, are worth the price alone.
Jennie Mayes has her MFA in Creative Writing and her short story THE CALL OF THE SWAN won the 2018 Driscoll Award for Excellence in Writing.