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A Small Zombie Problem (2019)

by K. G. Campbell

Series: Zombie Problems (1)

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193871,313 (3.67)None
In his fiction debut--and the start of a new series--celebrated illustrator K.G. Campbell brings a touch of Tim Burton to this singularly strange and wonderful story about a lonely boy whose life is about to get a whole lot more complicated when a zombie follows him home. August DuPont has spent his whole life inside a dilapidated house with his aunt Hydrangea. His lonely existence ends abruptly with the arrival of an invitation to meet an aunt--and cousins--he didn't even know existed. When Aunt Orchid suggests that August attend school with his cousins, it's a dream come true. But August has scarcely begun to celebrate his reversal of fortune when he is confronted by a small problem on his way home. So begins an adventure filled with a wild child, a zombie, a fabled white alligator, and an unimaginable family secret.… (more)

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At first, I wasn't sure what to make of this one. I mean, it screams ZOMBIES, but in all actuality, they were initially no where to be seen! First, we meet young August...a pale lad with honey colored eyes and a peculiar affliction of sorts that makes him a literal magnet for BUTTERFLIES. Yes, you read that right...butterflies...which doesn't sound bad, until you factor in the fact that his guardian, Aunt Hydrangea, is deathly afraid of butterflies (and pretty much the outside world at this point), so yeah....let's just say that hermits get out more than these two. Thank goodness most things can be brought to you now a days, making their staid life more bearable...until finally it isn't...at least for August.

Times change, people grow up, and with that comes curiosity, and wanderlust...a need to break free and see the world, or at least the inside of a classroom, along with the chance to make friends. Was that too much to ask? It depends who you ask...and when the chance arrives for all this and more to become reality versus dream thanks to a relation he didn't know he had (thanks Aunt Hydrangea....or not), August won't be fenced in any longer. Off on an adventure to better times and greater living, he's so caught up in his rapture he can't quite see the forest for the trees...but he's about to see the graves for their inhabitants, or rather ONE of their FORMER inhabitants...though just how they came to be UN-dead is beyond him. Can August survive his first bout in the outside world or will his new undead tag-along be the monkey wrench that rips that chance away?

When push comes to shove, August has a heart of gold. He knows what's right and what's wrong. Despite the fact that ANYONE would be tempted to do things they didn't really feel comfortable with given the right situation, I can honestly say I was rather proud of him...even if it took him longer than I'd have liked. He and Aunt Hydrangea learn so much, as do the other half of the newly revealed relatives...among those lessons, our difference are to be celebrated not hidden, friends should like us for who we are not who they want us to be, the evil twin theory is TOTALLY right, and never underestimate the primal force that is a young girl zombie who feels you're threatening her friend.


**copy received for review; opinions are my own ( )
  GRgenius | Sep 15, 2019 |
A Small Zombie Problem, K. G. Campbell's middle grade fiction debut, is a fun, quirky, Southern Gothic-flavored tale of family, secrets, family secrets, and zombies, obviously. August DuPont lives with his Aunt Hydrangea in their dilapidated family estate, the last members of the DuPont family and heirs to quickly dwindling DuPont's Peppy Pepper Sauce dynasty. August lives a solitary and lonely life, as he has never left his house at his aunt's insistence (she is agoraphobic and has convinced August that the outside world is a terrifying place). However, one day the grocery delivery boy drops a box of August's favorite snack, Mudd Pies, and August sees his opportunity to take a quick step outside to retrieve his snacks. Of course, this doesn't go nearly as well as August expects it to and sets in motion an adventure that involves a long hidden family pepper sauce secret, newly discovered family, a white alligator, and a wee bit of a zombie problem.

I really enjoyed Campbell's almost timeless presentation of the story (we're never really quite sure when this story takes place) and his accompanying illustrations are delightfully creepy. The story feels very atmospheric at times, and Campbell's writing is spot on creepy when it needs to be, and he also writes some surprisingly beautiful turns of phrase. I was suitably impressed several times with his writing style. August starts out so quiet and introverted and his blossoming confidence throughout the story is handled very well, and Claudette's inclusion as an actual character instead of the zombie plot device is a nice change of pace.

The book starts out a little slow, but as the action picks up, things move along fairly quickly. The ending seems a little abrupt, but the cliffhanger should leave young readers anxious for the next book in the series. I know I'll be looking forward to it.

I'd like to thank Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of A Small Zombie Problem in exchange for a fair and honest review. ( )
  tapestry100 | Jul 9, 2019 |
Series opener. August DuPont has never left his crumbling old house, Locust Hole, where he lives with his Aunt Hydrangea, whose best days are behind her. She mourns the loss of the family fortune, based on a recipe for chili pepper sauce, and of August's mother, and she resents the betrayal of her other sister, Orchid, marrying into rival family the Malveaus. When Beauregard Malveau discovers August's existence, he tells his mother, who invites him to their mansion - but only because she wants him to search for the legendary "Zombie Stone" - Cadaverite - that she believes is somewhere in his house. With this stone, their ancestor Orfeo raised the dead - and so does August, accidentally.

See also: The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon, The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood ( )
1 vote JennyArch | Jul 8, 2019 |
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In his fiction debut--and the start of a new series--celebrated illustrator K.G. Campbell brings a touch of Tim Burton to this singularly strange and wonderful story about a lonely boy whose life is about to get a whole lot more complicated when a zombie follows him home. August DuPont has spent his whole life inside a dilapidated house with his aunt Hydrangea. His lonely existence ends abruptly with the arrival of an invitation to meet an aunt--and cousins--he didn't even know existed. When Aunt Orchid suggests that August attend school with his cousins, it's a dream come true. But August has scarcely begun to celebrate his reversal of fortune when he is confronted by a small problem on his way home. So begins an adventure filled with a wild child, a zombie, a fabled white alligator, and an unimaginable family secret.

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When August DuPont, eleven, leaves his eccentric Aunt Hydrangea's crumbling mansion for the first time ever, he meets family, makes a friend, and attracts a zombie.
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