Barb the Last Berzerker

S. & S. Sept. 2021. 256p. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9781534485716.
Gr 3-7–In the land of Bailiwick, humans and monsters have been engaged in an endless war, and only a group of super strong warriors known as Berzerkers can help keep the monsters at bay. Barb, the weakest of her group, wants to join the fight, but their leader, Thunder, worries about keeping her safe. When a mysterious visitor offers to help the Berzerkers find a legendary weapon that will help them win the war, it’s an offer they can’t refuse. But that creature wants the Shadow Blade for itself, and soon all the Berzerkers except Barb have been captured. Barb escapes with the Shadow Blade, and her epic journey begins as she seeks help and tries to rescue her friends. Along the way she fights monsters and befriends a giant yeti named Porkchop. This is a tale of adventure, love, and friendship. Barb’s memories of her mother, her bond with Thunder, and her friendship with Porkchop all strengthen her in different ways, and readers empathize with her. The humor also makes this a standout. The art style is cute, cartoony, and scribbly, perfect for this madcap adventure. Barb and Thunder are white, though their world is a diverse one, with numerous other characters of color.
VERDICT For kids who enjoy funny adventures, weirdly adorable monsters, and characters who discover their own strengths.

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