A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book, while silly, does feature solid messages about believing in yourself and loving your friends. There's some violence (whales set fire to houses with their laser-beam eyes, for example), but the bizarre backdrop makes it hard to take seriously.
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What's the story?
Is it any good?
The plot here is fairly thin, but the characters and humorous details will appeal to kids (and parents and sophisticated readers, too). Lily's two friends, for example, are famous: Katie lives in a haunted neighborhood and faces off against zombies and werewolves, while Jasper is a "Boy Technonaut." Both have inspired their own series of books and have fan clubs. Fictional ads for their series' appear among the book's wonderful illustrations.
Readers will laugh out loud at the outlandish plot, Lily's clueless father (who doesn't guess his hooded boss's nature, even after watching him pour brine over his head), and the author's clever asides. It's the silliness that will sell this book. But the book really does have a heart, too: Lily, who "people didn't know was interesting," learns that she really is something special, and the friends work together, standing up for each other to the end.