The Munchkins


Children - Grade 4th-6th
306 Pages
Reviewed on 08/29/2021
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Author Biography

Candice Zee is a middle-grade and YA fantasy writer who first dreamed the idea of The Munchkins as a child while playing make-believe with her brother in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She is an early childhood teacher with an M.Ed. in Elementary Education and has taught for over twelve years in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and primary grade classrooms. Like Casey Munch in her book series, she is passionate about creating a more just and equitable world. She savors vegan food, loves board games and podcasts, relishes horror movies and novels, devours social science nonfiction, spontaneously belts out tunes from musicals, and does some of her best writing while drinking coffee at 1 AM. She lives in Cleveland, OH with her wife Dana and their dog companion Solstice. The Munchkins is her debut novel. More information about her book series can be found at www.munchkinsbooks.com.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

The Munchkins is a children's book written by Candice Zee. How many times did your parents tell you never to talk to strangers? I know mine did a lot. Perhaps the adoptive father of thirteen extraordinary children should have told them as well. When a new neighbor moves in and threatens the children, harassing them repeatedly, CC (as the children refer to their adoptive father) is concerned and tries valiantly to stand up to this man who calls himself Big Boss. This stranger knows too much, like the children’s names and their mysterious special powers. And he wants their powers for his own nefarious intentions. The drama intensifies as Big Boss infiltrates the unusual family in ways they never anticipated, and for which they were not prepared.

Candice Zee’s middle-grade novel The Munchkins is a Harry Potter-type fantasy that will keep young readers enraptured from beginning to end. Told mainly in the first-person narrative from Capricorn’s perspective (she’s one of the thirteen children), it reads like a memoir in many respects because she’s telling her story and that of her siblings from her direct perspective. At the same time, she’s imprisoned by this evil Big Boss. As the personal narrative unfolds, the story incorporates lots of dialogue typical of this age group (the children have all reached the age of 10 and are no longer aging). The narrative, dialogue, and descriptive passages are engaging and make young readers feel like they are part of the story. The good-versus-evil conflict is evident, and the importance of a strong family bond shines through. And why are they called the Munchkins? Well, that’s an interesting story in itself and adds to the overall flavor of the plot—a great read.

Kristine Zimmerman

If you like to be scared, then The Munchkins by Candice Zee is a book you will want to read. The Munchkins are thirteen siblings who were all adopted by one man, Casey Munch. Interestingly they are not biologically related to each other, but they all have the same magical powers. Capricorn, one of the Munchkins, serves as the narrator for this story. Unfortunately, their neighbor, Big Boss, is a very evil man with some diabolical plans for them. As with any large family, there are some disagreements among the siblings which lead to some intense fights. As the Munchkins get older, they experiment with their special powers and learn that their powers have some limitations. Big Boss remains an ever-present menace.

If you enjoy stories like The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, then you will love Candice Zee's book The Munchkins. Thirteen siblings are a lot to keep track of, but Zee does a great job in making each of them stand out. They all have distinct personalities which bring them to life. Big Boss is another mysterious but fully fleshed-out character that is easy to envision in your mind's eye. I enjoyed getting to know the quieter characters like Kitty and Justin, who use their magic to help others. I was on the edge of my seat as the plot became more and more terrifying. Kids who enjoy magic, mystery, and some scary scenes will enjoy this book. The Munchkins is the first book in a series, so get ready to be left anxiously waiting for the next book!

Vincent Dublado

In Candice Zee’s The Munchkins, you are introduced to a delightful group of characters comprised of Capricorn Munch and her twelve siblings. What makes them delightful? They are extraordinarily odd because they possess superpowers that their adoptive father forbids them to use to avoid unwanted attention. Sounds familiar? Think of it as a cross between X-Men and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. You know that something terrible is about to happen when you open your story with the question of what happened to all of your loved ones, and Capricorn narrates her family’s tragedy. She blames it all on a sadistic monster who goes by the name of Big Boss - their next-door neighbor - who sows discord in Capricorn’s peaceful household. He has that kind of malignant presence that seems to have been released from Pandora’s box. Capricorn is aware that Big Boss is up to something, and as the rift in her family grows, she hopes that it is not too late to stop this malicious neighbor.

You can expect Candice Zee to give an epic collision between good and evil but with a costly price for the good side. The Munchkins is heavy on kids with superpowers, an idea that many young readers will find appealing. After all, is there any kid on this planet who never dreamed of having superpowers? You might say that the idea of superpowered individuals is like an overstaying guest who needs to go, and I agree. But something in Zee’s narrative tells me to give it a little more extension. Here we have kids (actually, they stopped aging at ten) burdened with the tremendous responsibility of concealing their special abilities that in the process become more of a curse than a gift. This becomes a study of the superhero story as universal human motivation to confront existential realities. Read The Munchkins and consider its entertainment and philosophical value. You might find that this is a house guest you wouldn’t mind staying a little longer.