How to Protect Your Neighborhood From Circus Werewolves by Mick Bogerman (review)

howtoprotectyourneighborhoodfromcircuswerewolves-sm_origFrom the Cover:

There’s a good reason kids are scared of clowns.

When the circus comes to your town, better watch out for the clowns with jagged teeth, pointy ears, and foul breath.  They just might be werewolves in disguise waiting to devour everyone in sight. 

Once their hair-raising howl cuts through the night, you have two choices: run and hide and hope for the best, or follow my simple steps for How to Protect Your Neighborhood From Circus Werewolves.

Together, we’ll turn grandma’s silverware into powerful weaponry and hunt down the fearsome canine pack before they make meat snacks of the neighbors. ~ Mick Bogerman

◊   ◊   ◊   ◊

After pirate zombies, creepy mermaids, and robot bugs, a pack of circus werewolves is just another day in Beachwood. (p.72)

It’s spring break in fictional Beachwood, North Carolina, and Mick is looking forward to a visit from his Uncle George and the annual arrival of the circus.  What he thinks will be a fun week turns into anything but, as nothing is what he expects.  Instead, he and his younger brother and friends are again in peril and Uncle George is hiding a big secret.

“They don’t act like clowns,” Finley whispers to me.  “Aren’t they supposed to ride tiny trikes and throw buckets of sparkles at each other?”

Can’t decide what to tell him.  Duck comes to mind, ’cause they’re throwing things at each other, all right: metal spears, giant knives, Ninja stars, an axe.  They’re not good at it, either. (p.18)

Though this is classified as horror, I enjoyed it much as I did the previous book, How To Destroy the New Girl’s Killer Robot Army.  I even like the long, descriptive titles – as well as the chapter titles.  While the authors spin on werewolves would horrify a friend of mine with a fear of clowns (and a certain fabric softener’s little stuffed spokes-bear), I found it and the use of silverware to combat them to be amusing and interesting.

If they catch you, they’ll eat you. (p.45)

One of the things I appreciate about these stories, beyond the creepiness not exceeding my low tolerance level (though the ick factor was a bit much thanks to the appropriately nicknamed Booger-Face demonstrating a particular “skill”), is the portrayal of positive relationships.  Mick’s group of friends is socio-economically diverse and continue to learn to work together.  In addition, Mick has a good relationship with little brother Finley, his uncle, and readily admits to loving his mom.  With so many books with young protagonists relying on negative portrayals of adults to facilitate the circumstances leading to the adventure, it is nice to have a story that doesn’t make  all of the adults stupid. evil, or negligent.

Adults.  It’s a wonder they survive as long as they do. (p.111)

I also appreciated the “Warning Note to Parents” that precedes the story (addressing scariness, typical twelve-year-old name calling, and “stupid” romance) as well as “Mick and the Team’s List of Materials for How to Protect… OR, WHAT WE LEARNED TO HAVE WITH US NEXT TIME” that follows it.  I do like a good list.

Mick continues to be an engaging narrator.  The word choice and occasional use of incomplete sentences add to the feel that the story is being told by a twelve year old.

Another quick, fun and entertaining read from the Slug Pie Stories series.  Though this is the fourth book, the prior stories are mentioned just enough to make the reader curious but not enough to prevent it being easily read as a stand-alone.  Perfectly suited for intermediate and lower middle grade readers who enjoy horror, supernatural creatures, and adventures stories.


How to Protect Your Neighborhood From Circus Werewolves by Mick Bogerman | Slug Pie Stories LLC, September 2016 | paperback, 174 pages

I requested a copy for review from the publisher, after the book was announce in the slugpiestories.com newsletter, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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