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Lillian Lovecraft and the Harmless Horrors
David Nielsen. Nielsen, $9.99 (256p) ISBN 979-8-5312-9467-8
Pulling inspiration from Lovecraftian lore, Nielsen’s (Beyond the Doors) eerie fantasy-horror tale follows fourth grader Lillian Lovecraft as she combats fearsome terrors and their apocalyptic assault. After Lillian unwittingly purchases an old leather-bound book at the annual Grotesque Gulch Public Library Used Book Sale, a gelatinous, tentacled creature from another dimension named Frank, who craves mustard, latches onto her, disrupting her everyday life. Meanwhile, Dr. Octavius Oswaldo Moobanstern, a mysterious and dramatic scientist, concocts villainous ventures to steal the ancient tome from Lillian. While his plans are often comically foiled, and he speaks in humorous monologues (“May she be dipped in a vat of spoiled sour cream and rolled over a carpet of moose droppings!”), the doctor successfully pilfers the book, using it to open a portal to Frank’s home world. When the increasingly unstable portal begins unleashing evil creatures, Lillian and her friends must stop Dr. Moobanstern’s wicked schemes to save their town from the sinister horrors. While a disjointed plot sometimes causes narrative confusion, and theatrical dialogue stalls character development, Nielsen’s creative scenarios and comedic timing make for an idiosyncratic adventure. Ages 8–12. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 05/20/2022