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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

(M MG M) Review: Hand Puppet Horror by Benny Alano

Be sure to check out my interview with Benny Alano and enter to win a Hand Puppet Horror prize pack HERE

TITLE: Hand Puppet Horror          AUTHOR: Benny Alano
PUB DATE: 3/02/11                       FORMAT: pb, 122 pgs
SOURCE: from author for review

When Jay’s hand puppet, Yeti Booger, comes to life and defends him against Greg, the school bully, he thinks it’s the coolest thing in the world. After the creature becomes more than he can handle, Jay must figure out how Yeti Booger came to life and stop him before anyone else is hurt. It truly is a HAND PUPPET HORROR.

THREE WORDS: Holy Knickerbockers Batman (translation: super crazy fun!)

MY REVIEW: With a title like Hand Puppet Horror I just knew Benny Alano’s MG book was going to be something unique and fun, and boy was I right!

Fourth grader Jay is a pretty average kid- he has two best friends (Becky and Sammy), lives with his mom and sister, occasionally has a run in with the class bully…oh, and his hand puppet, Yeti Booger, has come to life! At first, Jay thinks this magical event is awesome; after all, Yeti Booger does defend him against a bully. But Yeti Booger quickly becomes the monster he looks like and starts making Jay’s life miserable. Along with his two BFF’s, Jay sets out to discover how and why Yeti Booger has come to life and must face stupid dogs, principles, witches and groundings to stop Yeti Booger before anyone gets hurt.

Hand Puppet Horror is a super quick read that had me laughing out loud from beginning to end. Alano has created a super imaginative and fantastical story that is a wonderful blend of dark/creepy and fun/humorous. With a very original premise, endearing characters, maybe even a bit of romance and a pitch-perfect voice, readers of all ages will have fun diving into this book.

I’ll admit that puppets kinda freak me out, even when they’re not alive, and Alano’s crazy, alive Yeti Booger puppet is awesome and creepy…it’s pretty much awesomely creepy, which will simply delight and enthrall younger readers. Alano’s smart, dark yet fun style of storytelling is very reminiscent of the great R.L. Stine. The story itself is fast-paced and readers will not find themselves bored.

The story is told from Jay’s point of view and I just loved his very authentic, fourth-grade “voice”. Alano has created a character that comes across realistic and believable. With his determination to do what’s right, courage, fourth-grade humor and trademark saying “Holy Knickerbockers!”, Jay is a charming and lovable character and narrator. I really loved Becky, Jay’s BFF (and secret crush), because she’s a fearless, up for anything kind of girl who will definitely grow up to kick evil’s butt and look good while doing it! And of course, there’s Yeti Booger, who is fantastically evil and entertaining. I don’t want to give away too much by saying just who is behind bringing Yeti Booger to life, but I do think younger readers will find the twist to be pretty cool.

Jay, Becky and Sammy’s adventure is thrilling and downright hilarious, and Alano concludes his book with one heck of a surprise ending that will have readers gasping and wanting more.

I also want to mention how awesome the illustrations by Jessica Geis are! These simple drawings really help capture Alano’s story and bring it to life.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Benny Alano’s Hand Puppet Horror is full of lots of silly humor, exciting adventure and captivating creepiness that readers of all ages will find irresistibly fun. 
4/5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter 
Purchase: Createspace / Amazon

Now hop over and check out my interview with Benny Alano and enter to win an awesome prize pack HERE!

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