Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Jason Rekulak)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Buffy The Vampire Slayer, based on the series created by Joss Whedon, written by Jason Rekulak, and illustrated by Kim Smith.

Buffy is a slayer – a brave and tough defender against the forces of darkness. But she recalls a time when even she felt afraid. When she was only eight, she was terrified of her closet: creaking and bumping noises would sound from behind the door nightly. Buffy’s friends, Xander and Willow, offer to help her face her fear with a sleepover. Yet despite their fun, none of them can bring themselves to open the spooky door. The kids then turn to their school librarian, Giles, who explains that Buffy will be a great warrior someday, but that she already has greatness within her. He recommends that she find her courage and face her fears – it may even make the monsters think twice about messing with her. Buffy, Xander, and Willow have another sleepover, and when the creepy noises begin again, Buffy steels herself. Will she have the courage to open the door and face what’s inside?

A delightfully nerdy ode to the original show in kid-friendly form. While this tale is by no means canon – fans of the show will know that the Scoobies didn’t meet until high school – this classic tale of facing one’s fears is given a delightfully subversive (and very Buffy-style) twist. Buffy and company find that there’s nothing to be scared of; oh, there’s monsters a-plenty (in a wonderfully fan-service spread featuring some of the show’s favorite villains), but they aren’t as scary as they seem. And while some diehard Whedonites may balk at monsters like The Gentlemen or Sweet happily playing with the kids at the end, everyone will have a laugh at Buffy’s mom Joyce’s reaction to a bedroom full of partying demons. The length was fine, and JJ enjoyed the fantastic cartoon-style illustrations. A fun adventure for little bookworms, and a delightful trip down memory lane for adult fans – Baby Bookworm approved!

The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird (Jason Rekulak, Kim Smith & Chris Carter)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird, a new story based on the show and characters by Chris Carter, written by Jason Rekulak, and illustrated by Kim Smith.

Little Fox and Dana are having a camp-out in Dana’s backyard, reading through spooky books (appropriately titled “The X-Files” themselves). Fox is a little more than jumpy, especially about the prospect of an alien sneaking up on their tent. Dana assures him that there’s no chance of this… just as a bright light shines over their tent! Fox is sure it’s aliens, but Dana calms him – it’s only the security floodlight. Then what’s that towering, creepy shadow?! Just Buster the dog sniffing out a squirrel. On it goes, with Fox following mysterious sights and sounds into the woods and Dana gently bringing him back down to earth, until Fox admits that maybe he was perhaps overreacting. The pair head back to their tent, not noticing that they weren’t alone in the forest after all…

This was delightful! A non-canon imagining of Mulder and Scully as children that takes the main themes of the show and distills them down to a kid-friendly yet fan-serving story. The plot is packed with humor, clever dialogue and misdirects, and even a mildly creepy twist ending that pays homage to the characters’ roots. Adult X-FILES/sci-fi fans will love details such as Scully’s parents drawn to look like the actors who played them, and a silhouette that closely resembles a xenomorph from the ALIENS series. The art is colorful enough to engage yet maintains a proper spooky atmosphere, and is sure to present the aliens as outerworldly but not scary. The length was great, and JJ and I loved it. A treat for fans to share with their little ones, and a fun, creepy tale all around. Baby Bookworm approved!