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Book review: 'Gustav Gloom and The People Taker' is an exciting story for middle readers

By Kate De Groote

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Aug. 4 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

"GUSTAV GLOOM AND THE PEOPLE TAKER," by Adam-Troy Castro, illustrated by Kristen Margiotta, Grosset & Dunlap, $12.99, 232 pages (f) (ages 8-12)

Take yourself into the world of Gustav Gloom, a boy who lives alone in a mansion. It's a world of shadows that walk and talk. It's the world of the People Taker, an ugly man who enjoys forcing others down into the underworld.

Meet Fernie, a fearless little girl who just moved in across the street. She enters into Gustav Gloom's world while chasing her cat. Fernie has an always-brave sister, an explorer mom (she scaled Mt. Everest, blindfolded!) and a dad whose job is to mark all safety hazards in factories. Her over-cautious dad even has his daughters look left, right and up when crossing the street — to make sure there aren't any emergency plane landings above them.

Fernie tours Gustav's house and is taken through a gallery of all the never-made statues and is shown a selection of different chairs that won't let you go. While there, the People Taker traps her in a brown sack. He needs her to reach his quota of kidnap victims so the Lord of the Shadows will award him with an apprentice. The rest of the unfortunate souls he kidnapped were already sent to the underworld.

However, he still needs two more people so he invites Fernie's family over to enjoy "pancakes." Once they arrive, somebody must step in to save them.

"Gustav Gloom" is a very exciting story. It will speak to all of the shadows in you. The book is filled with quirky illustrations that add a lot of spunk. Four books are planned in this series. Undoubtedly, they will be filled to the brim with ideas that will make you ponder the concept of shadows and whether they are really alive.

"Gustav Gloom and The People Taker" is written by Adam-Troy Castro. He has written 25 books and lives in Florida with his wife, Judi. The book is illustrated by Kristen Margiotta.

Kate De Groote is 11 years old and runs the blog SuperKidReviews.wordpress.com with her 9-year-old sister, Ellie.

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