Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Life of Zarf The Trouble with Weasels

Booklist (September 1, 2014 (Vol. 111, No. 1))

Grades 3-6. A Wimpy Kid format with a fairy-tale twist? Yes, this is bound to be a hit. Middle school is tough, but it’s even tougher when you’re a troll—the absolute bottom of the social heap. Zarf can’t control his troll blood, and that causes him trouble when it comes to the annoying Prince Roquefort. After King Cheznott goes missing, Snuffweasels start attacking the kingdom, and Prince Roquefort throws Zarf in the dungeon, a wild adventure begins. This is a witty twist on ordinary school-day troubles, and Harrell’s turning of familiar fairy-tale tropes on their heads adds to the charm (and a lot to the amusement factor): Goldie Locks is the lunch lady, Zarf’s best friends are a worrisome pig and a not-so-funny aspiring jester, ogres play football, etc. Interspersed with bratty illustrations, this ought to find a sweet spot at the nexus between fans of humor and fans of fractured fantasies.

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