Elliot and the Goblin Warby Jennifer Nielsen, Gideon Kendall
As of today, there are only
7 CHILDREN who have ever read this book and lived to tell about it.
-R.L. LaFevers, author of THEODOSIA AND THE EYES OF HORUS (April 2010) " -
"Nielsen ably draws readers into a tale chock-full of light adventure and humor, as each chapter details the... entertaining dilemmas Patches and Elliot face to outwit and uncover a traitor, foil the Goblins' attacks and keep it all a secret from Elliot's family. By the title's end, a bully has been confronted and Underworld peace negotiated. It's sure to evoke more giggles than gasps." - Kirkus
"Gr 3-6This lighthearted fantasy approaches the world of goblins, brownies, and demons with tongue planted firmly in cheek. On Halloween night, eight-year-old Elliot Penster saved a little girl from having her candy stolen by two bullies. Unbeknownst to our hero, she was a magical creature known as a brownie, and the bullies were beastly goblins. With his simple act, Elliot set off a war between these two factions in their Underworld home. Fast forward three years and the brownies are losing badly. When their queen passes away, Elliot, remembered for his former bravery, is chosen king. The first order of business? End the war with the goblins, and keep himself (and his family) alive. While Elliot succeeds in bringing peace, the "Book 1" on the cover ensures that the story will continue. The pacing is brisk, with short chapters to hold readers' interest. Main characters are well developed. The narrator has a gleefully odd (and occasionally sarcastic) sense of humor, opening the book with a warning to readers and sprinkling cheeky asides throughout the story. Themes of growing up and coming into one's own add depth. Occasional full-page illustrations in black and white are sometimes creepy and sometimes grotesque in a funny sort of way, adding to the story's tone... It will likely please young fans of the genre looking for something with a lighter mood.Travis Jonker, Dorr Elementary School, MI
" - School Library Journal
"Oh. dear. Funny names (Fudd Fartwick, Tubs Lawless) and unexpected events (almost being scared to death) tumble through the pages, and Nielsen writes about them with tongue in cheek. Elliot and the goblin on the cover should draw 'em in." - Booklist
-R.L. LaFevers, author of THEODOSIA AND THE EYES OF HORUS (April 2010)
A strong warning from a now-familiar intrusive narrator cautions readers to be "very brave" and "willing to take...chances" because "this is the story that unfolds the mysteries of the Underworld." Book one of this new series begins Halloween night, when unsuspecting reluctant hero Elliot happens to save a real Brownie named Patches from a trio of real Goblins. Elliot's good deed results in his acclamation as King of the Brownies, and these spunky but weak creatures truly need a king to help them end a three-year-long war with the evil Goblins. Nielsen ably draws readers into a tale chock-full of light adventure and humor, as each chapter details the somewhat over-the-top yet entertaining dilemmas Patches and Elliot face to outwit and uncover a traitor, foil the Goblins' attacks and keep it all a secret from Elliot's family. By the title's end, a bully has been confronted and Underworld peace negotiated. Recommended for those who avoid dark and serious fantasies, as it's sure to evoke more giggles than gasps, despite the introductory admonitions. (Fantasy. 9-12)
Read an Excerpt
As of today, there are only seven children who have ever read this book and lived to tell about it. Ninety-five children successfully read the first chapter, but upon beginning chapter 2, they started blabbering in some language known only as "Flibberish," which makes it very hard to tell their parents why they can't finish their homework. Thirty-eight children made it halfway through this wretched book before their brains simply shut down and they began sucking their thumbs through their noses.
But these are minor problems compared to what happened to those who read the final chapters of this book. The only thing known for sure is that something in chapter 15 seems to make body parts fall off.
If you're very brave, one of those who would battle a dragon with only a toothpick for a sword, perhaps you are willing to take your chances and turn the page. But before you read even one more sentence, be sure that you have told your family who gets your favorite toys if you do not survive this book. Read it now, if you dare. But don't say you haven't been warned, for this is the story that unfolds the mysteries of the Underworld. Turn the page and begin Elliot and the Goblin War.
Chapter One: Where Elliot Gets a Little Scared
When he was eight years old, Elliot Penster started an interspecies war. Don't blame him. As anyone who has ever started an interspecies war will tell you, it's not that difficult to do.
Elliot had spent the evening trick-or-treating. Everyone thought he was dressed as a hobo, but he wasn't. He didn't have money for a Halloween costume, and so he'd just gone in his everyday clothes.
On that night, his everyday clothes were a pair of his big brother's old jeans with a hole in one knee, a T-shirt that sort of fit if he didn't lift his arms up, and a long-sleeved plaid shirt over it that did fit. He also wore two different shoes, which weren't part of his everyday clothes. It's just that he couldn't find their matches.
Either way, he was on his way home with a big sack of candy, which is all that ever really matters on Halloween. He dipped his face into his sack and sniffed up the blend of chocolate, fruit, and sugar smells. And lead? Elliot pulled an orange pencil from his sack and then dropped it back in. Who gives pencils for Halloween? Probably the dentist over on Apple Lane.
Elliot wrapped his sack up tight to keep the smell inside until he got home. He planned to share a few candies with his family and then go wild with the rest in one night of sugar-crazed insanity.
"Help!" a voice cried.
Elliot turned to see a little girl running toward him, dressed as an Elf. Her right arm flailed wildly, and in her left arm she carried a sack almost as big as she was. Every time she screamed, all the dogs in the area howled. Chasing her were two kids about his own size dressed as Goblins.
"Hey!" Elliot yelled at them. "You're not supposed to take someone else's candy!"
Elliot ran toward the kids in the Goblin suits. He tossed his heavy sack of candy over his shoulder then swung it toward them. It hit one Goblin in the shoulder and knocked him into the other. They fell on top of each other on the ground.
"Stay out of this," the Goblin on the bottom snarled. "You're only a human boy."
"Don't make fun of my costume!" Elliot yelled. "Just because you can afford a cool costume doesn't make you cool."
The Goblin on the top rolled to his feet. "We don't want to be cool. We want to be scary."
"My sister cooks dinners that are scarier than you," Elliot said. It wasn't an insult to his sister. She really did.
"You want to see scary?" the Goblin asked. He crouched down on all fours and let out a growling sound that Elliot didn't think any human voice could make.
Then something happened, something Elliot had never seen a costume be able to do before. Not even the expensive ones. It began bubbling, as if it had become a vat of black, boiling oil. Ripples of bubbles started small but gradually grew bigger, almost as if the Goblin itself were growing in size.
Elliot's eyes widened. He'd seen things like this in the movies before. Even if this was only a costume, it was still a lot scarier in person than watching it in a theater with a bucket of popcorn on his lap. He didn't want to watch it, and yet he found it impossible to turn away. Something in his brain yelled at him to run or else he'd be sorry. Elliot agreed with his brain, but his legs didn't obey. He stumbled back a step and then jumped when the Goblin extended a hand-which now looked more like a claw.
"Don't look at him!" the girl in the Elf costume yelled.
Elliot had nearly forgotten about her. Instinct took over, and he swung his sack again at the Goblin, but this time the claw grabbed the sack and tore at it, ripping a big hole. Candy poured out, most of it landing with a kaplunk in a big puddle of water that splashed all over the Goblins. The Goblins leapt a foot into the air and screeched as if the water was somehow painful to them. The bubbles melted back into the costumes, though Elliot thought there were holes the size of water droplets in their clothes now.
Without a glance backward, they ran down the street and vanished into the night.
It took a moment for Elliot's heartbeat to return to normal. When he caught his breath, he yelled after them, "Babies!"
If water ruined their costumes so easily, they should've worn something else. He leaned over and picked up a few pieces of candy that weren't too wet. It was the cheap candy, like the kind old women keep in bowls by their TV remotes. There wasn't even enough left to share with his family.
"Sorry about your candy."
Elliot turned to see the girl in the Elf costume speaking to him. She had a small mouth and huge brown eyes. Her hair was thick and hung to her shoulders. Looking at her, Elliot finally understood what a button nose is.
"That's all right," he said. "Someone probably would've stolen it before I got home anyway."
"You have Goblins too?"
He smiled. "Around here we call them bullies."
"Oh." She held out her sack. "Since your candy's ruined, you can have this."
Elliot peeked inside. It was filled with long, green pickles. Dozens of them. Pickle juice leaked from a small hole in her bag and made a smelly puddle on the ground. "Um, no thanks," he said.
"I've got more if you change your mind." She closed her sack and added, "That was really brave, risking your life for me like that."
Maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, Elliot thought, but he smiled kindly. She was so young, she must've thought the Goblin costumes were real. Poor thing was probably scared half to death. He said, "Nice costume. You're an Elf?"
She puckered her face. "Everyone knows that Elfish ears are short and pointy. I'm a Brownie. My ears are bigger and pointier, see? And Elves are much taller than Brownies. My name is Patches."
"Hi. I'm Elliot." He shifted his feet and found himself staring at her eyes. He'd never seen anyone with eyes that large or that round. "Well, I'd better go home now."
"Okay. Well, thanks for what you did. I won't forget it."
Patches never did forget it, but Elliot's mind was on something entirely different before he even made it home. Maybe he would've remembered if he had known the girl he saved wasn't a human in a Halloween costume, but a real Brownie from her Underworld home.
And as your clever mind also must have guessed, Dear Reader, she was being chased by real Goblins.
Patches went to her Underworld home to tell the other Brownies about her new hero, Elliot Penster. Elliot Penster went home without any Halloween candy. And the Goblins who had ruined his Halloween went home to start a war.
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