cover image The Birthday Party of Dread

The Birthday Party of Dread

Michael Rex. Putnam, $5.99 trade paper (122p) ISBN 978-0-399-25523-6

The third installment of Rex’s Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian series finds more adventures and danger for a young barbarian from a fantasy world hiding out in an elementary school in our world. While Fangbone’s serious warrior approach to life usually gives him little patience for the more carefree antics of his friend Bill, this time it’s Bill’s turn to be the serious one when he’s marked by a curse that leaves him hunted by a powerful monster, the Crusha. Fangbone and Bill must also work to devise an invention for a school project or risk Bill’s teacher calling home about his failing grades. With a combination of smarts, magic, and help from their friends, the two are able to come up with one solution to solve both problems. Rex’s simple, comical art style and his sense of humor aim the book right at the elementary school–age peers of Bill and Fangbone, presenting a low-fantasy parody mixed with a tale meant to help students overcome their own worries about overcoming the near impossible. Ages 6–up. (Aug.)