Carman, Patrick and Sheesely, Brian. Fizzopolis: Floozombies!
October 4th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central
Harold Fuzzwonker knows he is taking Floyd the Fizzy to school in his backpack because he would cause too much trouble back in Fizzopolis, but when Floyd brings along Grabstack (who has dreams of being in the theater), Harold knows he's in trouble. Along with his friend, Sammy, he travels under his house to his father's laboratory to investigate. When someone sticks a suspicious substance in the Fuzzwonker Fizz machine, it starts to manufacture floozombies which must be neutralized. This takes a while, but eventually Harold and Sammy figure out a way and enlist Franny's help in getting rid of the floozombies.
Harold's desire to keep Fizzopolis under control is admirable, especially since his mad scientist father is not too concerned about safety of health regulations (I think Fizzwonker Fizz in manufactured in part by Franny sucking up swampwater into her trunk and regurgitating it!). Children who think it's a good idea to bring pets to school in backpacks will be endlessly intrigued by the idea of having a fizzy be a constant companion, although from an adult perspective, bringing Floyd to school is not the path of least problems! That, of course, is what makes this so humorously appealing to children.
This feels very much like it might be a Cartoon Network tie-in but is not; there's just something about the supreme goofiness and the style of illustrations that puts my in mind of something like Spongebob SquarePants. Hand this to readers of Jon Scieszka's Frank Einstein books, the Robots Rule! series by Richards or any child who needs to be peeled away from the television on a sunny summer day and at least relocated under a tree with a book!
I like some of Carmen's work-- 13 Days to Midnight is truly brilliant, and the Atherton books are quite solid. There's some of his work that falls on the elementary side of the Pilkey line and is disappointing to me because I'd rather see him write more middle grade books!