A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This is a fantasy, meant to entertain.
Believe in yourself, stand up for yourself, learn from your mistakes, and trust others. There's great value in teamwork, and doing what's right saves the day,
Positive Role Models
Zero Degree Zombie Zone has nuanced positive role models. No one is all good or all bad. Instead, the characters grow and evolve, and that ability to evolve is a positive model.
Violence & Scariness
The fighting action in the book is cartoon-like violence that includes things such as kicking zombies and lots of zombies grabbing and pulling kids and growling, but nothing really comes of their attacks. There are threats of fights between kids, but nothing happens except accidental falls and pushes. A king zombie threatens to take over the entire world, so there's a fear of being eaten.
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Mild name-calling including "loser" and "stupid."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Zero Degree Zombie Zone is the story of shy fourth-grader (and narrator) Bakari Katari Johnson, who's thrust into the role of hero as he tries to prevent a zombie invasion from an icy planet. There are some instances of bullying and name-calling; however, those situations are resolved. There also are mild fights involving zombies and kids in school. Parents looking for diversity in middle-grade fiction will appreciate this book's cast and African-American main characters.
Is It Any Good?
THE ZERO DEGREE ZOMBIE ZONE is a fun, quick-paced read that keeps readers engaged and laughing. The story is both strange and familiar, with characters navigating the social minefields of school and then suddenly falling into a world where a horrific ice monster is threatening them and Earth with a frozen zombie invasion. Readers want to root for Bakari, and author Patrik Henry Bass does an excellent job of creating an entertaining story featuring believable characters with nuanced personalities.
Bass mostly breaks out of the stereotypical and popular kid-versus-morally-superior-misfits scenario that's common in kids' literature, though the overweight, bumbling, sidekick/best friend trope does make an unwelcome appearance. Overall, kids and parents will enjoy the action, message, and story.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.