Eleven-year-old Ripley "Rip" Plimpt is into monsters--really into monsters. He desires nothing more than to meet one and let the misunderstood creature know someone out there cares. His wish comes true after he mends the injured wing of a helpless bat, and supernatural entities begin to seek him out for medical and therapeutic help. Becoming a "monster doctor" practically overnight, Rip finds his world turned topsy-turvy as a zombie--affectionately dubbed "Dead Guy"--a gay werewolf with self-esteem issues, and an amorphous blob named Oozy invade the mundane world of Rip and his very supportive family. But while he attempts to balance the realities of elementary school with the responsibilities of his nocturnal vocation, his efforts are observed by an evil family intent on removing Rip and his folks from their house by any means necessary, including persuading the neighborhood that Rip's monster pals are a genuine threat. Angry Beavers creator Schauer displays a knowledge and fondness for the old-school culture of monster movies, and the art has a nice balance between the macabre and the absurd. Although billed as all ages, some of the story elements are more suitable for older children. All ages. (Oct.)
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Grade 7 Up—Despite its promising, if familiar, premise, this graphic novel falls short on almost every front. Ripley "Rip" Plimpt is a monster-loving boy who finds himself tangled up in a world of monsters and intrigue. The storytelling is erratic and overly reliant on exposition. Grammar and spelling mistakes occur throughout. The artwork is uneven; with his big head, stubby limbs, and chubby cheeks, Rip doesn't seem to belong in the very story that bears his name. The mix of traditional hand-drawn and computer-aided art yields unpleasant results. Characterization is inconsistent, both visually and within the narrative. The target age also seems to vary: Rip looks like a preschooler, yet the story itself would be just about right for "Goosebumps" fans, while bizarre lapses into off-color language would suggest a teen audience. The author has extensive experience in the field of animation, and this seems to be an attempt to bring the liveliness of that medium into print. One can't help but wonder what the book could have been had it had some clearer direction.—Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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