Alexander Bopp is not happy about moving to a new town, Stermont. He's even more unhappy when creepy balloon goons start showing up everywhere! Mysterious things are happening and it seems like only Alexander and the ripped-up notebook of monsters know what's going on. With a little luck and unexpected bravery, Alex manages to not only defeat the goons but make a new friend. There's more mysteries on the horizon though, and more monsters in the Notebook of Doom!
Not all the illustrations in this book were completed, and it looks like they will be in black and white, but Cummings has a fun, digital style that strikes a perfect line between silly and scary. Alex has darker skin and appears to have a single parent dad, but it's not emphasized, just part of his life. Like the other titles in this series, it's short (only 89 pages) but has more text than an easy reader and lots of illustrations that move the plot along.
Verdict: Kids wanting something scary but not quite ready for something really scary will like the mild thrills and chills of this story and giggle at the silly aspects. This one I would definitely recommend - there aren't enough scary books for beginning readers.
ISBN: 9780545493222; Published July 2013 by Scholastic; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2013; Purchased for the library