Take the eerie urban legends of Supernatural, mix it with the mystery and intrigue of Something Stranger, throw in the whimsical antics of Ghostbusters, and what do you get? A smart and fascinating world of supernatural folklore and adventure in The Grimms Town Terror Tales: Rise of the Candy Creeper. A ghoulish adventure geared for middle grade readers, this debut volume, conjured up by the creative team of Neo Edmund (A Tale of Red Riding) and Renae De Liz (Legend of Wonder Woman), brings an enchanting addition to the Storm Kids imprint by John Carpenter and Sandy King.

Borrowing characters from the mythos of Grimms’ fairy tales, the story spotlights Hansel and Gretel, who come home one evening to find their house ransacked and their parents gone without a trace. Upon closer inspection, they stumble into a hidden underground science lab deep in the subterranean levels of the house where they discover an arsenal of techno-magical weapons. In time, they learn that their parents are actually monster hunters. This secret operation undertaken by their Grimm ancestors has apparently endured for centuries. Before long, the siblings find themselves swept into a supernatural world lurking with uncanny characters including a grim-mannered goblin, a wraith-like pumpkin-headed Candy Creeper—the Boogey Man of stolen Halloween candy—and a nefarious witch named Hildaga Vontrix who lives deep in the woods just outside of town. Along the way, they acquire newfound powers, but at what price? And just what deadly secrets lie behind their family history? To find their parents, Hansel and Gretel must uncover their past to vanquish the deadly forces threatening them and save Grimms Town from imminent danger.

This spooky spin on a classic fairy tale for adolescent readers serves up just the right amount of scares, adventure, and mythical intrigue for a new generation. The narrative momentum revolves around Hansel and Gretel’s lineage shrouded in mystery, unfolding in incremental flashbacks from their happy-go-lucky Aunt Zoe, who reveals a darker, sinister history steeped in ancient folklore. Candy-like colors of neon green, gold, and pink illuminate vibrant panels, while deeper shades of blue and purple dominate scary scenes of malevolent beings prowling around the shadier corners of Grimms Town. The constant banter between the sister-brother duo enlivens the story, with some panels packed with heavy dialogue. The plot unravels fairly quickly as Hansel and Gretel are sucked into a fantastical world besieged by unimaginable dangers as they attempt to reunite with their parents, while encountering bizarre characters to help them unlock the secrets to their past.

This first venture into a world teeming with supernatural beings, ancient magic, and threatening danger at every turn sets the stage for further adventures. Grimms Town Terror Tales marks an entertaining addition to libraries seeking to fill a lighthearted dark fantasy and horror niche for younger readers.

John Carpenter Presents Storm Kids: Grimms Town Terror Tales Rise of the Candy Creeper
By Neo Edumund
Art by Renae De Liz
Abrams, 2021
ISBN: 9781733282161
Publisher Age Rating: 8 and up

NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)
Creator Representation: Nonbinary

  • Jerry

    | He/Him Information Strategist, San Francisco Public Library


    By day, Jerry Dear, APALA member and Information Strategist at the San Francisco Public Library tackles research questions in the Periodicals department. He also teaches in the Library Information Technology department at City College of San Francisco. By night, he serves the Asian American community and ventures into the vibrant literary arts and graphic novel scene. In whatever time remains, he indulges in comics, anime, manga, and Asian American literature and film.

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