Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: James Preller
Illustrator: Iacopo Bruno
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Malik is mostly responsible for his little sister, Tiana, because their mother works during the day and their father works through the night. He doesn't mind most of the time, but sometimes a guy likes his own space. One day while playing near the haunted house just two doors from their home, Tiana disappears. He starts looking for her and calling her name and finds her in the backyard of the creepy old house. She has dug up the edge of a box inscribed with strange text. Like a good big brother, he opens the box for her, and within the box is an ugly one-eyed doll. It creeps out their friend, Soda Pop, but Tiana is instantly in love with it and calls it Selena. Things with Malik's sister begin to get weird, then weirder, until he knows that he must solve the mystery of the doll and save his little sister.
This is very reminiscent of the T.V. series The Twilight Zone and Tales From the Crypt. If you don't let your kids watch those, definitely don't let them read this series. The chill factor is about the same. There is no bloody stuff, but the artwork and story are quite spooky. The art is black and white with a woodcut feel which is completely in-tune with the story and enhances the creep factor. The story would be perfect when told near the fire on a camping trip with woodsy sounds and smells to add to the chill as campers make their way back to a tent! Bears, lions, and one-eyed dolls will seem to be hiding in the shadows of every tree. This little chiller will also creep out friends on a Halloween sleepover. Put this one on the shelf, but don't be surprised if it shows unexpectedly around the house...