I often think about how I would’ve turned out if I were growing up now in the 21st century instead of the 1970s. There are so many distractions for kids today – hundreds of cable channels, countless video games, everything the Internet offers… it’s not surprising to hear that children’s literacy is plummeting. Why read a book when you can watch the movie on Netflix or play the video game? As a father with two kids under the age of four, this societal change really worries me. How heartbreaking would it be to be a lifelong genre fiction lover – a full-time book reviewer for half of my life! – and have my children grow up without a love for reading?
That’s why I love authors like David Lubar. His uproariously entertaining Nathan Abercombie, Accidental Zombie saga – which recently concluded with the release of the fifth and final installment, Enter the Zombie – is categorized as “middle grade fiction” and is written from the perspective of a nerdy fifth grader turned zombie turned super spy for the secret organization BUM (Bureau of Useful Misadventures). Accompanied by his two best friends – “little Einstein” Abigail and bumbling Mookie, who has a major flatulence problem – the trio of social outcasts fight to save the world from the forces of evil as they struggle to maneuver through a minefield of playground bullies, nosey parents, sadistic gym teachers, etc. And, not surprising considering the saga’s intended audience, the narrative is filled with gloriously gross subject matter – like projectile vomit, hellacious farts and slimy boogers.
In Enter the Zombie, spring has come to East Craven, New Jersey, and Nate’s bizarre experience as a zombie is coming to an end – whether he likes it or not:
“Winter is over. I used to like spring. But when you’re dead, and trying not to rot too fast, the last thing you look forward to is warm air and sunshine.”
So as Nate and his friends try to find a cure for his dread affliction, he must try not to lose any deteriorating body parts while in school – and there’s also his side job as undercover spy doing battle with the forces of RABID (Raise Anarchy By Inciting Disorder)…
I cannot recommend these novels enough – what better way to combat wildly entertaining and highly addictive video games and television shows than a wildly entertaining and highly addictive series of zombie fiction novels for kids! It’s my hope that books like Lubar’s Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie series will not only motivate kids to read more but also instill in them a lifelong love of reading and that transcendental sense of wonder that comes from immersing oneself in an enthralling work of fiction, be it science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, etc.
As a book reviewer and a concerned parent, I thank you, David Lubar, from the bottom of my fart. I mean heart!
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for almost the last two decades and has written more than 6,000 reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, and BarnesandNoble.com. In his free time, he reads.