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The Last Kids on Earth Crash Course

A Quick Guide to the Series and What to Read Next

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 05, 2021

Dystopian for Younger Readers

The Last Kids on Earth is a series of seven bestselling middle grade dystopian graphic novels written by Max Brallier and illustrated by Douglas Holgate. The series is being adapted, book by book, into a hit animated Netflix series, with some serious star power voice work from the likes of Catherine O'Hara, Bruce Campbell, Mark Hamill, and Rosario Dawson. Recommended for kids ages ten to fourteen, these books often get labeled as horror, but the campy, comedic style makes them more funny than frightening. Described as Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Walking Dead, they are perfect for any kid who's ever dreamed of starring in his or her own video game.

The Premise

After a zombie outbreak hits his hometown, thirteen-year-old foster kid Jack takes up residence in a tree house, armed with catapults and a moat, not to mention video games and an endless supply of Oreos and Mountain Dew. Alone, Jack is no match for the hordes of zombies and monsters lurking about, but he's joined by his best friend Quint, who excels in gadgetry; June, a tomboy who used to be the school newspaper's editor-in-chief; and Dirk, the reformed local bully with exceptional fighting skills. The group takes on different monsters in each book, while fighting to survive, and defeat an ancient evil spirit named Rezzoch, who wants to take over the Earth. The series titles are listed here:

Monsters: It Takes All Kinds

The series features a cast of colorful monster characters, some good and some evil, and others that fall somewhere in between. Some like Rezzoch, make repeat appearances, others are introduced and defeated in a single read. In The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade, we meet Wormungulous, a pizza parlor monster hangout, an ancient evil who destroys worlds. This is also the book that introduces Skaelka, a helpful, hip monster who becomes close friends with June.

In The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond, the kids navigate their first winter after the monster apocalypse. For Jack and his buddies that means sled catapults, epic snowball battles, and one monstrous Christmas celebration. This volume features human villainess Evie Snark, who steals Jack's prized monster-slaying tool, the Louisville Slicer.

And new this week, The Last Kids on Earth: Thrilling Tales from the Treehouse offers highlights from all of their adventures as the kids and their monster friends regale each other with outrageous and hilarious stories from their action-packed escapades.

Your Next Dystopian Adventure

If your young reader tore through this series and is clamoring for more, here are some other great dystopian series for middle grade readers that you can check out next:

  • The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau: Lina and Doon live underground where their ancestors fled to escape a toxic world above. But supplies are running low.
  • Pendragon by D. J. McHale: Bobby Pendragon seems like a normal fourteen-year-old boy. But there is something very special about Bobby. He is going to save the world.
  • Dead City by James Ponti: Most kids are busy enough with school, activities, and friends, but Molly Bigelow has something else on her list: hunting zombies.
  • The Last Dogs by Christopher Holt: Not kids, but dogs! Every human being has disappeared. Max, a yellow Lab, knows that his human needs his help.
  • The Undertakers by Ty Drago: Another great kids-save-the-world book with a unique twist. Aliens are taking over corpses and reanimating them, but some kids can see through their disguises.
  • The Zombie Chasers by John Kloepfer: A sudden zombie epidemic turns a fun sleepover into a total creep-over.

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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