Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home
Publisher: Scholastic/Graphix imprint
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Price: $24.99 hc/$12.99 pb
Creator: Scott Morse
Format: 256 pages color, 6” x 9”
ISBN: 978-1338188103 hc / 978-1338188097 pb
Age Rating: 8-12
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

It’s hard to say that this isn’t a horror story, since there’s a zombie in it, and part of the story takes place at a movie theater which is showing a really bad horror movie, but even so…it’s really a fantasy story and a baseball story and a story about two sisters who never got around to becoming good friends.

The girls are twins, but one is much better at sports than the other. They live with their grandmother, who is a witch of sorts, apparently a family tradition. The girls can’t learn that stuff yet, as they’re still too young by traditional standards, so when they DO get mixed up with magic, chaos results.

There are some plot oddities and holes, mostly having to do with the zombie, and there is also a special pair of glasses that isn’t quite explained within the story. The zombie and his apparently detached spirit are never quite explained either, but the resulting story is a lot of fun. The grandmother’s witchcraft only pops up at a few moments in the story, and yet always seems to be connected to the story itself.

Morse’s artwork seems more detailed here than in his old Magic Pickle stories, and it works very well, especially when he has to draw something totally outrageous, like a zombie gnawing on a baseball.

Overall, the suggested age range seems appropriate, and kids who like zombies, baseball, or drawing on their stomachs will like it.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.