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Owlboy: Billy Hooten #1    by Thomas E. Sniegoski & Eric Powell Amazon.com order for
Owlboy
by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Order:  USA  Can
Yearling, 2007 (2007)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Thomas E. Sniegoski calls his new series hero one 'for the crazy kid inside all of us'. Billy Hooten aka Owlboy is twelve years old and lives in Bradbury, Massachusetts. 'Billy Hooten was weird. At least, that's what everybody said. He had always loved things strange and unusual. Halloween was his favorite holiday ... better than Christmas. He loved building things like robots, although they very rarely worked, and the monster movies, especially old ones, and comic books, but even better was drawing his very own monster comic book. If all of that make him weird, then Billy supposed people were right.'

One Saturday morning, Billy sat atop the stone wall which separated his house and the Pine Hill Cemetery, reading the latest issue of his fav comic book series. Leaving, he heard what seemed like a call for help. Billy realized that the voice was coming from the great one-hundred-year-old Sprylock family mausoleum (they were supposed to have been warlocks!) A second voice said, 'Hold still you little creep, so's I can crush you like the bug you are.' The old crypt door was ajar; inside was total disarray, with scattered bones and broken coffins.

Two very strange-looking people stood in the middle of the room. One was short, with beady little eyes, huge pointy ears, an enormous head, and was dressed in a tuxedo. He spoke to Billy, 'It is you! I'm saved!' The other was BIG built like a pro wrestler, with a huge upper body, great big arms, a tiny waist, spindly legs, and the head of a pig. He spoke to Billy, 'Wish I had some bread ... Bet you'd make a really tasty sandwich'. Billy picked up a large bone to defend himself, but the big guy fell over a bunch of bones, his head hitting the mausoleum floor. Whew, saved by the bones! The smaller creature proclaimed Billy the Owlboy, and was elated that one had finally came back to straighten out the trouble in Monstros City. Goblin Archebold also handed him an ancient Owlboy comic book.

So begin the adventures of Billy Hooten. Thomas E. Sniegoski, a novelist and comic book scripter who was employed by every major company in the comic book industry, delivers a superior story, matched by illustrator Eric Powell's grey-shaded, dark outlined figures that raise the hairs on your neck. This chapter book is perfect for ages nine to twelve (to be honest, I enjoyed it myself). Readers are sure to devour the pages in one sitting, while awaiting the next publication featuring Billy Hooten, hero extraordinaire (and fortunately there are more).

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