Desmond Pucket and the Cloverfield Junior High Carnival of Horrors by Mark Tatulli
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2016. 978-1449466282.
Synopsis: New year, same school…or so Desmond thinks. Turns out his arch-nemesis Mr. Needles is now the Principal, Keith Schimsky (y’know, the younger brother of the lovely Tina) grew into a giant, and the annual Carnival of Horrors has been cancelled. But when he finds out that the librarian may lose her job, he hatches a plan that may just be able to save both the librarian and the school carnival.
Why I picked it up: Fun? Check. Funny? Check. Monsters? Check, check. What’s not to love?
Why I finished it: This series has earned a special place on my shelf because of its delightful mix of horror, humor, and heart. It makes me remember what it was like to be a kid pursuing their passions even if they seem to go against what everyone else likes. On the surface, Desmond may seem single-minded and lazy, but as a reader you know that he’s got good intentions. He has the ability to see a need and finds a way to use his talents to meet that need – even if scaring isn’t the optimal solution. Tatulli’s story once again comes alive in the art – whether it be Desmond’s scribbles or the intermittent illustrations between paragraphs. It’s another reason to like this series: the hybrid novel/graphic novel really expounds on the characters and their actions while giving the reader a visual point of reference for some of the tricks Desmond is using to make sure the show goes on. Highly imaginative and humorous, Desmond will continue to make magic with readers both on and off the page.
Other related materials: Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tatulli; Desmond Pucket and the Mountain Full of Monsters by Mark Tatulli; Lio’s Astonishing Tales: From the Haunted Crypt of Unknown Horrors by Mark Tatulli; The Odd Squad books by Michael Fry; Alien Invasion in my Backyard: An EMU Club Adventure by Ruben Bolling; The Ghostly Thief of Time: An EMU Club Adventure by Ruben Bolling; George Brown, Class Clown by Nancy Krulik, illustrated by Aaron Blecha; My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish books by Mo O’Hara, illustrated by Marek Jagucki; Frank Einstein books by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs; Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce; Knights of the Lunch Table books by Frank Cammuso; Timmy Failure books by Stephen Pastis