From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6–This lighthearted fantasy approaches the world of goblins, brownies, and demons with tongue planted firmly in cheek. On Halloween night, eight-year-old Elliot Penster saved a little girl from having her candy stolen by two bullies. Unbeknownst to our hero, she was a magical creature known as a brownie, and the bullies were beastly goblins. With his simple act, Elliot set off a war between these two factions in their Underworld home. Fast forward three years and the brownies are losing badly. When their queen passes away, Elliot, remembered for his former bravery, is chosen king. The first order of business? End the war with the goblins, and keep himself (and his family) alive. While Elliot succeeds in bringing peace, the “Book 1” on the cover ensures that the story will continue. The pacing is brisk, with short chapters to hold readers' interest. Main characters are well developed. The narrator has a gleefully odd (and occasionally sarcastic) sense of humor, opening the book with a warning to readers and sprinkling cheeky asides throughout the story. Themes of growing up and coming into one's own add depth. Occasional full-page illustrations in black and white are sometimes creepy and sometimes grotesque in a funny sort of way, adding to the story's tone. While the book doesn't stand out in a crowded fantasy landscape, it will likely please young fans of the genre looking for something with a lighter mood.–Travis Jonker, Dorr Elementary School, MI. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This opens with a warning: only seven children who have read this book lived to tell about it. In truth, this is more silly than scary, though kids might like that, too. Elliot is out trick-or-treating one Halloween night when he runs into a girl in an elf costume being chased by goblins. As it turns out, she really is an elf—well, actually a brownie—and the goblins are after her. For reasons that involve the delicious taste of brownies, the encounter leads to a war launched by the goblins against the brownies, into which the human Elliot finds himself dragged. In fact, he becomes king of the brownies and thus responsible for their welfare. Oh dear. Funny names (Fudd Fartwick, Tubs Lawless) and unexpected events (almost being scared to death) tumble through the pages, and Nielsen writes about them with tongue in cheek. Elliot and the goblin on the cover should draw ’em in. Grades 3-5. --Ilene Cooper