Friday, January 4, 2019

Edison Beaker, Creature Seeker: The Night Door by Frank Cammuso

Four years ago Edison's dad gave him a flashlight to scare away the monsters in the dark, went out to help a friend... and never came back. The story really begins when Edison and his annoying little sister Tess (Tesla) and Tess' hamster Scuttlebutt have to spend the night with their weird Uncle Earl, an exterminator. When Uncle Earl gets an emergency call, the two quickly discover that he isn't exterminating just bugs - and the creepy story he told them about the monsters on the other side of The Night Door is true! Edison finds himself traveling through the dark and dangerous Underwhere, battling monsters with his flashlight and trying to save his sister (and her hamster) as well as the whole world from being overrun with monsters! He makes an unexpected friend and gets hints of many secrets before the Night Door is closed... forever?

Cammuso's distinctive cartoons, with old-fashioned Disney-style characters that sport big noses, large eyes, and lumpy hair, will draw in readers who were fans of his previous series, Dodgeball Chronicles and Misadventures of Salem Hyde. Red-headed Edison and Tesla sport skinny, stick-like legs and arms and the monsters they face, ranging from one-eyed black globs to dragons and blobby, colored creatures will give readers a little thrill without being too frightening.

The book passes quickly over Edison's father's disappearance and although his journey into the mysterious blackness is scary, it's more "monsters under the bed" scary than "monsters potentially eating your guts" scary. There's plenty of humor with Scuttlebutt's antics and Tess's determination to do exactly what she pleases, and although the Night Door closes at the end of the first volume there are plenty of hints that it hasn't closed forever, from his monster friend Knox's past to the hint that his father may be trapped in the dark.

Verdict: Readers who like fantasy adventure but aren't ready for the more intense action and emotional punch of Amulet or Bone will happily settle down with Edison and his monstrous adventures. This new series is sure to grab your graphic novel fans, both young and old.

ISBN: 9780425291924; Published October 2, 2018 by Viking; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

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