Monday, December 5, 2022

Night Frights: The squirrels have gone nuts by Joe McGee, illustrated by Teo Skaffa

I don't know how I missed this series, but I am delighted that I managed to pick up the volume involving evil squirrels!

Dillon Ford lives in the quaint/weird/creepy town of Wolver Hollow and one fateful summer day... he accidentally hits a squirrel with a tennis ball. He feels sorry immediately, but that's not enough to appease the Forces of Evil Squirreldom that immediately arise and begin destroying the town. Only with the help of his friends will Dillon be able to escape the menace of the squirrels - and hopefully save their families and town as well!

This is promoted for fans of Goosebumps and Scary Stories to tell in the Dark but I would say it's much more at the level of 13th Street or Notebook of Doom. It's silly and mildly creepy, but there's no gore or serious horror involved. Black and white illustrations decorate the pages and the kids are depicted with varying skin tones. Naturally, they visit the library for research purposes, and there's a creepy narrator framing the story and hinting at a bigger evil plot.

It can be tricky to figure out what exactly kids mean when they ask for "really scary" books. Some of them turn up their nose at Goosebumps and want things more in the vein of Five Nights with Freddy, which is why I keep those in the juvenile area. Some of them like the idea of scary more than the reality and absolutely don't want to read something really horrifying. Some of them have caregivers who absolutely don't want them reading horror. For those in-between scary readers, I'm pleased to have more and more series to offer them, especially those featuring a more diverse cast of characters. 13th Street, Desmond Cole's Ghost Patrol, Notebook of Doom, and now Night Frights are all go-tos for these readers.

Verdict: I can't wait to get these into the hands of kids and not just because I want to spread the dangers of evil squirrels. Mwa ha ha ha! These should be a hit with kids wanting creepy short chapter books. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781534480988; Published September 2022 by Aladdin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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