1622850033 (ISBN13: 9781622850037)1 September 2013, Speeding Star
E ARC provided by Enslow Publishers
Leo is excited to go to Camp Smellerd, because he wants to figure out the mystery of the Guppy Scouts who went missing in the 80's and are now the mythical Smellerd Zombies. He has an especial interest in zombies because of his friend Roger, a half-zombie (he was licked, not bitten) who lives in a secret lab behind Leo's bedroom closet. When Leo gets to camp, however, he gets involved in an environmental project to clean algae bloom off Lake Moan. When fish headed zombies interrupt their cleaning, Roger arrives with information that helps them understand both what happened to the Guppy Scouts and also the ecosystem of the dead Lake Moan.
Strengths: Lots of zombie fighting and low key gore (even Roger's parts keep falling off and have to be bandaged back on), but also some scientific-ish plot devices. This is very short, and part of a series geared to getting reluctant readers to pick up books. This would certainly do it, and I can see struggling readers enjoying these and being successful with them. Zombie Field Day, Zombie Next Door, and Zombie, Down will all be released tomorrow. The cost per volume, $11.26, is more reasonable than some of these hi-lo books. If I were in an elementary school, I would definitely purchase these.
Weaknesses: Might be a tiny bit young for middle school, and since they are brand new, there are not Accelerated Reader tests available yet. I may delay purchase until next summer, since the primary audience for this would be 6th grade boys at the beginning of the year who need AR points. Sad, but true!