CANNIBALS OF SUNSET DRIVE, THE

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9780027171105: CANNIBALS OF SUNSET DRIVE, THE

While mowing the lawn at the monastery, ten-year-old Mike is relieved to find one kindly old monk in place of the cannibalistic monks of local legend and begins planning a special Christmas gift for his newfound friend.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-6-Mike is convinced that the neighborhood monastery, complete with ancient rock tower and 13 graves, is home to cannibalistic monks, who are cousins to vampires and whose favorite meals are 10-year-old boys. With three months to go until his 11th birthday, he suffers night fears and the dares of friends to climb the narrow wall that encircles the castlelike building until he actually meets its sole occupant-kindly, elderly Father Lawrence, a vegetarian. The unlikely friendship that follows underscores the theme of knowledge dissipating fear. While the story has the contemporary appeal of vampires and is told with some humor, it is a slight offering with little character or plot development. The narrow focus makes it predictable; Mike's one concern is too meager to sustain readers' interest for the duration of the book. And the boy may in fact not learn much from his friendship with the priest. In a humorous twist at the end of the story, 13 nuns move into the monastery, causing Mike great relief that now 10-year-old girls must beware.
Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Fifth-grader Mike narrates the horrors that he and friends Kenny and Pratt imagine are behind an old monastery's walls. They're certain the ``cannibal monks'' who live there are surveying the neighborhood from their tower, waiting hungrily in the shadows for a boy to stray into their garden, where there are at first 12, then 13, graves. With typical childlike thrill- seeking, the three make each other walk the feared garden wall. One day Mike missteps and plunges down the other side, where he's befriended by elderly Father Lawrence. While the rest of his tale is hardly a surprise (Mike comes to appreciate the monastery, and also learns to trust his own mind rather than following Pratt's boastful lead), Carlsruh works in an affecting amount of imagined scariness; readers will also find double meanings in nearly every sentence Father Lawrence utters. The best line comes with news that nuns are taking over the monastery: ``Now it's the girls' turn.'' A first novel that offers a well-realized slice of childhood. (Fiction. 9-11) -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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