Buckingham, Royce. The Dead Boys.
Nominated for the Cybils by Mike Schoeneck
What happens when corporations dump toxic waste into waterways for many years? The trees become evil mutants with a taste for humans, especially young boys they can lure into their branches, keep hostage, and drain of their life force for years. That's what Teddy finds when he moves with his mother to the desert community of Richland. Encouraged by his mother, he runs around the neighborhood unsupervised and meets a some of friends-- Walter, Joey, Albert, Sloot, Oliver and Lawrence-- all of whom exist in worlds slightly different from Teddy's. The reason? They all died in a variety of accidents and were taken by the tree. In order to dave himself and put an end to the deaths, Teddy has to help each boy recreate his own demise but save him.
Strengths: Creepy, creepy tale! It was obvious to me that the boys were from different time periods-- Buckingham does a great job on describing their language, interests and dress. This is definitely a fresh tale, and not too heavy on the environmental message, even though it is there.
Weaknesses: A little hard to describe to students, but that should be offset by the great cover.