Ever since I had kids, I’ve searched high and low for anything that is both child friendly and terrifying. I’ve slowly gathered a small collection of kids Halloween books. Well, they may not actually be Halloween books but that’s about the only time of the year I can find them.
The second that the spooky season hit, I headed out to my local Chapters to pick up every creepy kids book that caught my eye. My first haul of the year included what is one of my favorites now, Zombie In Love.
The story, by Kelly DiPucchio with art by Scott Campbell, follows Mortimer. He’s a lonely zombie and is trying to find a date for Cupid’s Ball. While his intentions are pure, his ideas on how to get a girlfriend probably don’t appeal to those of us who still have a beating heart. Eventually he places an ad in the paper hoping that the ghoul of his dreams will read it and meet him at Cupid’s Ball.
The story is a great blend of gore and humour. It’s not going to scare the little ones, as long as they’re a little bit creepy like mine are. Actually, I’m surprised that I don’t find more kids books about zombies. Since they’ve invaded society, the zombie has fast become one of the most overused creatures around, second only to vampires I bet. I guess when it comes to blending childish cute and adult horror, zombies are just harder to pull off.
That’s where Scott Campbell comes in. His art works perfectly with Kelly DiPucchio’s writing and there are lots of little details to keep an eye out for. Most of the panels not only show how Mortimer is trying to find his dream girl, but they also are filled with Mortimer’s friends. His little dog, whose eye is slipping out and has a chunk missing from his side, is very cute in a dripping goo kind of way. There’s also all kinds of little worms filling the scenes, sometimes they’re playing catch, sometimes poker, but they’re always there with Mortimer.
The story seems typical until you put it in the context of zombies. Kelly DiPucchio does a great job of writing a story that is funny in that double meaning kind of way. When Mortimer gives a girl a beautiful ring or a shiny, red heart, it all seems normal. Of course, he’s a zombie so the ring is still attached to a finger and the heart isn’t one you would just pick up at Hallmark.
Mortimer is a zombie through and through and it’s nice to see that DiPucchio and Campbell don’t take anything away from him. He falls apart, tries to give out body parts for love, and he eats brains. If your kids have a fondness for the creepy things in life, I suggest picking up Zombie In Love. You can find it on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
In the shadows – Will