Image: A red teddy bear with horns, fangs, claws, and glowing yellow eyes shambles into a door frame. Text: "Night of the Living Ted. Barry Hutchison. Illustrated by Lee Cosgrove."

KidLit Book Review: Night of the Living Ted by Barry Hutchison and Lee Cosgrove


Synopsis

After Lisa-Marie and her big brother, Vernon, visit a Create-A-Ted store, the unexpected happens.

Their teddy bears come to life!

But it turns out they aren’t the only ones. All kinds of teddy bears—zombies, ghosts, aliens, and more—are suddenly alive and creating mayhem…and soon there is an army of evil teddy bears on the loose!

Can Lisa-Marie and her big brother Vernon save themselves—and the world?


Details

  • Title: Night of the Living Ted
  • Series: Living Ted Book #1
  • Author: Barry Hutchison
  • Illustrator: Lee Cosgrove
  • Cover Artist: Lee Cosgrove
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • ISBN: 0593174283
  • Publication Date: May 19, 2020
  • For Ages: 8-12
  • Category: Middle Grade
  • Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.

I’d like to thank Delacorte Press for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.


Review

Night of the Living Ted is the hilarious first entry in a new middle grade horror-comedy series about some less-than-cuddly teddy bears who come to life on Halloween night and decide to take over the world. After their parents are turned into slimy creatures by a witch bear, step-siblings Lisa-Marie and Vernon must join forces with a teddy ally named Bearvis (as in Bearvis Presley) to defeat the horde of tiny, evil bears and save humanity. With malevolent, wise-cracking toys and kids learning how to navigate a newly blended family, the book resembles a kid-friendly Child’s Play with a sweet family story at its center.

Though the entire book is quite funny, I was slightly puzzled by the fact that a sizable percentage of the humor is Elvis-based. Don’t get me wrong, the Elvis jokes are funny; I’m just not sure whether they’ll go over younger readers’ heads. (I was born years after the King died and I would have gotten the jokes when I was in the target age range for this book, but I honestly have no idea how the plethora of hunka hunka burnin’ puns will play with today’s preteens. If any of my readers have any anecdotal evidence to share on the subject, please do so!) The jokes fit in well with the breezy hilarity of the rest of the story, though, so even if kids don’t catch every reference, they’ll still enjoy the sequined teddy bear karate-chopping his way through a pack of wereteddies.

Image: A black-and-white illustration of a demonic teddy bear with fangs, claws, horns, and sunken eyes and cheeks looking at himself in a mirror while two shocked children look on from behind.

Lee Cosgrove’s illustrations are a wonderful combination of comedy and horror, depicting menacing alien teddies and ill-tempered witch bears in zany, dynamic scenes that propel the action forward and deepen the characterization of the protagonists. Lisa-Marie and Vernon (you can’t escape the Elvis references!) make a good team as they fight the adorable stuffed menace, and I’m eager to see how they deal with the mad science and unpredictable magic of future teddy invasions. I can never get enough kids’ horror-comedy, so I’m excited about this new series and its zombear potential.


Rating

Give me all the horror-comedy series! I give this book 4 out of 5 coffins.

4 Coffins


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