By DEB ARONSON
Meet Mick Bogerman, treasure hunter, zombie fighter and mermaid wrangler. Mick is the narrator of the Slug Pie series, which includes: "How to Navigate Zombie Cave and Defeat Pirate Pete," "How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid," "How to Destroy the New Girl's Killer Robot Army" and "How to Protect Your Neighborhood from Circus Werewolves." I file these under wonderfully disgusting and thrilling books you might never have heard of.
I learned about Mick when I met Karen Blaski at a recent writers' conference. Blaski uses a pseudonym — writing in disguise to protect herself from zombies, mutant mermaids, circus werewolves and robot armies.
You might never have heard of them, since they have been published by a small independent press, but they are easily available on Amazon (search for Mick Bogerman or go here: https://www.amazon.com/Mick-Bogerman/e/B00M1C9U06). I highly recommend you track them down, especially if you know any blood-thirsty third-graders you can share them with.
The stories are short, satisfyingly gross and full of action. But Mick is also funny, caring and smart. He has a delightful and pesky little brother who saves Mick as often as Mick saves him. They are a great pair.
In the first story, Mick heads into a cave, where there is pirate treasure. He needs the money to help out his mom who works two jobs to make ends meet.
He knows the treasure is guarded by zombies, so he's taken precautions; he carries a pitchfork, a miner's helmet and a treasure map. For myself, at this point, I'm sure the zombies and the gold are all in his imagination. I won't tell you what happens, but boy oh boy, there are guts and brains everywhere.
The second book, "How to Rid Your Swimming Pool of a Bloodthirsty Mermaid," has all the charm of the first book. That is to say, it is wonderfully disgusting. I will not say more, but be careful what you feed your sea monkeys. The nice thing is, the stories are full of terror, mystery, slime and — we think — murder, but in the end no one really gets hurt. That is one of many things that makes these books the perfect middle grade read.
One of the best parts of these stories is that these unimaginable adventures take place in a perfectly normal middle-class setting, which is exactly what makes them so wonderfully creepy.
Here is Mick's mom going to her job at the grocery, while Mick and his brother are fighting a flesh-eating mermaid. And, in the end, isn't that what makes reading great: to have these out-of-this-world adventures in the comfort of your own home?
Deb Aronson is an Urbana-based author whose nonfiction book about famed racehorse Rachel Alexandra is "a girl-power story on four legs."
Source : http://www.news-gazette.com/living/2018-09-09/deb-aronson-get-ready-some-gross-adventures.html