Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Humans can be such a pain: The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo returns!

The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo: The Monster Mall, by Drew Weing, (Sept. 2018, First Second), $15.99, ISBN: 9781626724921

Ages 8+

The intrepid duo of Margo Maloo and Charles Thompson is back in their second adventure! Margo Maloo is on a new case, and she needs Charles and his journalistic talents to help. The situation in Echo City is getting tougher on monsters. Humans are encroaching on their environment, and the Monster Code states that NO monster can let themself be seen by a human. Thank goodness, kids don’t count, but teenagers do, and there’s a group of teens hanging out at an abandoned mall. Some monsters are sick of hiding, and want to fight. Other monsters just want to be left alone. Tensions are running high, and it’s up to Margo and Charles to help keep the monster community in status quo!

The Monster Mall is a great follow-up to 2016’s The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo. The dynamic between Margo and Charles is fun and light, with smart dialogue and loads of humor. Margo has some wise insights, like one of my favorite lines, “…the older people get, the less they can be trusted”; Charles believes that kids and monsters can learn to trust one another. After all, Marcus and Kevin, Charles’ monster buddy in the basement and his friend, play Battlebeenz together, right? An epilogue teases the future of human-monster relations, and I can’t wait for the next installment. Cartoony monster art, witty dialogue and a diverse cast of characters that bring up some smart questions about diversity make this a book you want in your graphic novel collections.

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Humor, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Support Monster Journalism! Check out The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo!

margo_1The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo, by Drew Weing, (Sept. 2016, First Second), $15.99, ISBN: 9781626723399

Recommended for ages 8+

Charles F. Thompson just moved to Echo City with his family. He’s not thrilled, especially with their new digs: a creepy building his dad will be refinishing as the family lives there. Charles – an avid blogger – swears there’s a monster in his room, and he’s not wrong. Some of his toys go missing, and he knows he didn’t just misplace them. Charles is seriously freaked out: what if the monster tries to eat him?! A neighbor quietly slips him Margo Maloo’s number, and Charles’ whole world changes: Margo is a monster mediator. The monsters all know her; she knows all the monsters. She helps smooth relations between Charles and Marcus, the troll that lives in his building. Turns out Marcus is really upset that these awful humans are moving in and messing with his stuff! Once Margo sorts things out, and Charles has been exposed to this new world right under his nose, he’s hooked – freedom of the press demands that he write about this! Margo firmly puts the kibosh on Drew’s reporting, but lets him tag along on her missions. The Echo City monsters aren’t thrilled with Charles, but who knows? Maybe they’ll see Charles’ value as Margo’s assistant. After all, he and Marcus bonded over Battlebeanz toys!

Think of Charles as a kids’ Night Stalker, led by a hard-boiled, female, juvenile Philip Marlowe: She’s on a just a first-name basis with all the monsters in her town, and operates in the shadows, confidently keeping a balance between the monster world and ours. Charles is hilarious, whether he’s complaining about exotic new take-out or proclaiming that “information wants to be free!” (the librarian in me was so happy with that panel); Margo is the picture of cool and sassy, navigating both worlds with a self-assuredness most kids could only dream of, and the monsters themselves are very human: they worry about humans discovering them; they collect toys and knickknacks, and parents worry about their kids walking off when a stranger offers them candy, too. The cartoony art will appeal to kids without scaring them (or maybe, just give ’em a little frightened giggle).

There are three stories in this first volume, to start you off on the world of Margo Maloo. There are also pages from Charles’ notebook, with sketches and information about ghosts, goblins, ogres and trolls, the monsters he encounters in these first tales. If you want more Margo and can’t wait for the next volume, you don’t have to! Margo began life as a webcomic that’s still running, updating on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can check it out at http://www.drewweing.com/, and while you’re at it, discover a few more comics on the site.

The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo is a fun addition to graphic novel collections, perfect for kids who are in Goosebumps mode and want something witty,  a little spooky, and a lot of fun.  margo_7