For Tales Told Under the Covers:
Tales Told Under the Covers features ten short stories for middle graders, but they definitely entertained me on an adult level. I liked that almost every main character had some sort of problem that all kids have, and that they resolved those problems after overcoming things so fantastical, the adults in their lives wouldn’t believe them if they hadn’t been there, too. These kids rolled with the punches and took things into their own hands when the grownups were too scared to move. These kids were underdogs — like I was as a kid. They inspired bravery and made me laugh out loud. The stories themselves are a blast, even at their creepiest; De has the coolest imagination.
Take Neil, the hero of “Zombie Girl Invasion.” He thinks girls are gross, and he likes running around pretending to shoot things. He gets in trouble all the time for being too loud while pretending to shoot zombies. When the zombies invade for real, he has to save his parents and help a zombie girl. I’ve noticed that zombies are becoming more and more popular, which is cool but also a little unnerving, because no one wants to see zombies become nauseating the way vampires and werewolves have. De’s zombies are so hardcore, they even eat each other. No one is safe, and that’s just the way I like it.
–Liz Barone, book blogger.
These are stories where the kids are in charge. The cohesive family unit is important, but the kids are the ones who are empowered to save the world. The adults are largely helpless. Astra’s Dad is physically helpless, he’s been injured and can’t work, which forces his daughter to take matters into her own hands. Neil’s parents don’t know the right way to kill zombies. Cat’s parents are frozen with horror as the Sushi monster attacks and Marina’s parents are eaten by Nibbles the giant rabbit. These children can walk into a world of the unknown and come up with a way to win. probably the best example of this is Connor, who is absorbed into a world of robots and works out how to win their war. De’s characters are flawed, vivid and real. They are gutsy, intelligent and brave. I loved every one of them.
–Emma Honeyball, book blogger.