Night of the Living Things (Victor Shmud, Total Expert #2) #BookReview

Title: Night of the Living Things| Series: Victor Shmud, Total Expert! #2 | AuthorJim Benton | Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks | Pub. Date: 2017-12-26 | Pages: 112 | Genre: Kids Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers:None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the publicist for review consideration

Night of the Living Things

Fresh from his intergalactic adventure, Victor is casting about for something new to apply his formidable know how to. The obvious next step is cello-making. However, the not so mellifluous sounds that emanate from his creations are enough to wake the dead. That’s right, there are zombies let loose and it’s up to Victor, Patty, and the long-suffering, always faithful Dumpylumps to not get eaten.

Book cover for Night of the Living Things

Night of the Living Things Review

Okay, I’m just going to get this off my chest right away: Victor needs to figure out Dumpylumps is a duck, not a chicken! Preferably in the third book, please. Because if this keeps up much longer, I’m going to Do A Thing, invent a device to reach into the pages, and show this kid the difference between a duck and chicken! Argh! How can he be so blind?! I mean, I’m willing to overlook the fact that the school Victor goes to allows pets to attend classes, borrow Kindergartners for shoes, but I just cannot stand for him fixating on Dumpylumps being a chicken!

Okay, I’m better now.

Anyways, Night of the Living Things was a good follow-up to Let’s Do A Thing! Whereas the first one was science fiction, this one strays a little bit more towards the kids horror side. It’s not scary at all, of course, but it still has zombies and those are “gross and kind of scary” according to the resident miniature human being in charge around here. Benton presents a perfectly acceptably ridiculous scenario for the dead rising from their graves, and at the same time pokes fun at the adult need for coffee. Something kids about this age begin to understand is essential for the functioning of adult life, but don’t see the appeal of.

While I’ll admit I didn’t like Night of the Living Things quite as much as the first book, my child’s enthusiasm for the story had ratcheted up a notch. So we balanced out. I still like Victor, but I have to admit for a preference for Dumpylumps. I think I’d be perfectly willing to read a re-write of this series from Dumpylumps point of view. He’s just a cool duck.

Perfectly-paced action, a ridiculous plot, and a child with a mind that never even comes near the box combine to make Night of the Living Things an entertaining read for it’s target age-range. It felt like there were a few more illustrations in this book than the first one, and my child and I both appreciated that. The art is a huge part of what makes these books so fun to read.

Kid-recommended, adult-approved.

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