ERNESTINE, CATASTROPHE QUEEN
Meet Ernestine Montgomery, a heroine along the lines of Ramona, Matilda or Harriet the Spy—if you consider a sassy zombie fighter in that league of greats.
Almost 13 years old, Ernestine has been waiting for a zombie apocalypse. Tired of waiting, she and her 10-year-old stepbrother, Charleston Wheeler try to raise a zombie up from the dead on a “boring February” night. She wearing pajamas; it’s cold; the tombstones are crumbling. So begins an adventurous tale filled with quirky characters, a murder mystery, and a brave young girl capable of handling anything that comes her way.
Caitlin Davies narrates the seven-hour audio book. Her voice is no nonsense— bordering on bossy —but also amusing, as if Ms. Frizzle is behind it. It’s kind of pert, kind of prim. And it’s kind of perfect.
Although it takes a little while to get into the story, listeners then realize that Ernestine is smart, prepared, and always knows just what to do. She’s always steady and calm, even while in a fight with an undead thing wielding a chandelier and kicking her into a trashcan. Charleston, her blue-eyed, shaggy-haired, bespectacled stepbrother, is a feisty and fine sidekick through it all.
Davies does an expert job of voicing the many characters, and there are many: Mrs. MacGillicuddy, Charleston, identical 60-year-old acrobatic dancer twins, a butler, a retired British pastry chef with pink hair, an art curator-turned-professional-cranky-old man, a musician named Mr. Ellington, a movie special effects expert, and more in this fun, heartfelt romp of a mystery.
Ann Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.