Allison's Book Bag

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio and Scott Campbell

Posted on: November 9, 2013

Zombie in Love

Zombie in Love, written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Scott Campbell

If your preschooler or kindergartner prefers fresh human brains to cookies and milk, have I got the picture book for you. Zombie in Love fills a much overlooked void in children’s literature. For far too long, picture books have tended toward the cute and cuddly — kittens, flowers, rainbows, unicorns. Blech. Disgusting. Unwholesome. Where can kids turn for valuable lessons in death? Look no further!

Zombie in Love, written by Kelly DiPucchio, tells the delightful story of Mortimer — a fine, upstanding young zombie who, sad to say, finds himself surrounded by very unpleasant humans. All Mortimer wants is a girlfriend, but no human girl will give him the time of day. Mortimer plies them with delectable worm-infested chocolates, a “shiny, red heart”, and a diamond ring with the severed finger of its original owner. But these women just don’t know a good thing when they see it.

Does Mortimer give up? No, he does not! He reads self-help books, works out at the gym, and learns to dance. But still he just can’t find a date. Is there no hope for poor Mortimer?

Children will love reading of Mortimer’s romantic exploits, he’s just so charming. In addition, there’s also his faithful dog; we don’t learn his name, but he’s a handsome boy with most of his skin and fur intact and that one eye hanging adorably from its socket. And don’t forget his little wormy friends who follow him everywhere.

zombieinlove1

Mortimer’s “I Brain Brains” coffee mug.

The best thing about Zombie in Love is the illustrations by Scott Campbell. If you or your children just give them a passing glance, you’ll miss half the fun. There are so many great details; pictures of a few of these accompany this review.

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Mortimer’s “cologne” is a pine-scented air freshener.

Now, as we all know, zombies can be a tad… oh, what’s the word? Blood-thirsty? That is, they have this amusing tendency to, you know, feast on human flesh. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But descriptions and depictions of this habit in a children’s picture book may be frowned upon by some overprotective human parents. So how does Zombie in Love handle this delicate issue? By mostly ignoring it. Yes, Mortimer keeps a human brain on a shelf in his home. Yes, he gives a human heart to one prospective love interest. Yes, there’s that severed finger. And sure, Mortimer and his date eat brains, eyeballs, and hands on their picnic date, while Mortimer’s dog chews on a severed foot. But their picnic is in a cemetery, so at least there’s the possibility that their meal was already dead before they found it.

(My review continues after the picture. Don’t get lost.)

Mortimer and his date have an interesting way of holding hands.

Mortimer and his date have an interesting way of holding hands.

What I’m getting at is this. I feel fairly confident in saying that because bloody carnage is downplayed in Zombie in Love, should you choose to share this fantastic book with your offspring you will likely not awaken one night to find your children gnawing on your head. But please don’t mistake this for a guarantee. I wash my hands of it.

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