Zack Zombie (William and Gena Pena), Zombie Family Reunion (Diary of a Minecraft Zombie #7), Scholastic Australia, 1 June 2017, 160pp., $9.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781743818336
This book presented me with a heretofore unfamiliar experience – writing a review of a book based on an item of popular culture with which I was almost completely unfamiliar. I’ve been playing videogames for most of my life, however the global phenomenon of Minecraft managed to pass me by entirely. Nevertheless, I persisted with reading this tome, despite knowing that many of its references would sail neatly over my head.
As the title suggests, the book is written in the format of diary entries, penned by Zack Zombie, the main character of the book. In this story, Zack has to attend a reunion of zombie family members from around the world of Minecraft, and in order to make it more fun for himself he convinces his human friend Steve to disguise himself as a zombie exchange student so that he can tag along.
The book is aimed at kids around the 9 – 11 year old bracket – those who are into the game and who would enjoy reading some fiction set within that world. There are plenty of jokes, mishaps and adventures within the story – enough that would keep kids engaged and entertained. The authors, William and Genie Pena, and their son Matthew, have written the series of books with the intention of encouraging kids who love the game to learn to love reading as well. I could probably think of some much better gateway books into literature for kids who are interested in immersive genres, but having said that I can’t see the harm in something like Diary, which is light and taps into something they already enjoy. There’s even a moral about appreciating family at the end of the story, so it has, at least, been well thought out and leaves you with a good feeling.
I’d say even readers who don’t know the game will probably enjoy reading it… but then I don’t know who else would be motivated to buy it! Still, it was fun and funny and I reckon youngsters will probably dig it.
Reviewed by Christian Price
- Read reviews of Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare and Book 2: Bullies and Buddies