ParaNorman: Attack of the Pilgrim Zombies! Review
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After meeting the young hero with a gift for talking to ghosts in ParaNorman: Meet the Ghosts, young readers can continue to venture into Norman’s haunted world in ParaNorman: Attack of the Pilgrim Zombies!

After briefly introducing readers to Norman, the lovably awkward boy with paranormal abilities, Attack of the Pilgrim Zombies! picks up the story where Meet the Ghosts left off: as Norman prepares to face the evil witch who’s cursed his small town. And as he ventures into the graveyard—closely followed by the school bully—he watches as an army of pilgrim zombies rises from the graves and heads toward town.

Fortunately, though, Norman has a special gift—and, as it turns out, his ability to talk to ghosts extends to zombies, too. And, just as predicted, Norman finds that he’s the only one who can communicate with the zombies and bring peace back to his town.

While Meet the Ghosts introduced readers to Norman and his story, Attack of the Pilgrim Zombies! dives right into the adventure, following the lovably geeky hero as he’s forced to face some of his greatest fears.

For some reason, this follow-up book is presented in a completely different format (size, shape, style) than its predecessor—perhaps because it seems to have been written for a different audience. This second part of the adventure was apparently meant for an older audience than the first. There’s quite a bit more text (as well as some bigger words), and the story is much creepier, with scarier characters and more suspense-filled paranormal action.

Still, author Annie Auerbach seems to have struggled to condense the plot of the animated film down to a short kids’ book. Though she attempts to capture some of the story’s humor, the funny parts often feel random and out of place—just silly exchanges that don’t make a whole lot of sense—and, in general, the story doesn’t flow especially well.

When the book reaches its final pages, however, Zombies offers more closure than Ghosts. Though it tells just a small part of Norman’s story, it still has a kind of beginning, middle, and end. The conclusion does hint that there’s more action and adventure to come—and, since there isn’t a third book in the collection, I guess you’ll just have to take the kids to see the movie to find out what happens to Norman and his friends (clever movie marketing, don’t you think?). Fortunately, though, the end doesn’t feel like little more than a teaser, as the end of Ghosts did—and when you finish reading the last page, you’ll feel satisfied with the conclusion.

With its quirky characters and cool animated images, ParaNorman: Attack of the Pilgrim Zombies! makes for an enjoyably eerie adventure. After reading it with your kids, though, don’t forget to search inside the closet (and under the bed…and behind the curtains) to make sure that the bedroom is free of ghosts and zombies and other things that go bump in the night.

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