October 30, 2019

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio, picture by Scott Campbell

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:05 pm by suebe2

Zombie in Love
by Kelly DiPucchio
Illustratrated by Scott Campbell

Do zombies sound too gruesome for a Halloween picture book?  Then you need to pick up Zombie in Love and see how author Kelly DiPucchio handles her topic.

Mortimer is just a regular guy and with Cupid’s Ball coming home he’s ready for a change.  He wants someone special in his life.  But the girls just don’t appreciate his best qualities – his winning smile, his can-do attitude and his willingness to put himself out there.

In a final attempt to find true love, Mortimer places an ad in the newspaper (this is in there for the adult reader).  “If you like taking walks in the graveyard, and falling down in the rain. If you’re not into cooking, if you have half a brain…”

At the ball, Mortimer sits beside the punch bowl where he can see the whole room.  No one wants any punch but Mortimer watches friends laughing together and couples dancing.  As people start to leave, Mortimer hears a crash as someone knew arrives and, judging by the way she’s falling apart, she’s a bit nervous.

This story works for early grade school readers because the text taken alone has almost no creep factor.  It takes pairing the text with the illustrations to make it a true zombie story.  But since the watercolor illustrations are cartoony and silly it doesn’t become overwhelming gruesome.

If you have a young reader in your life who wants to get in on zombies but isn’t ready for the big screen version, read through this book.  My son and niece both would have loved it, but it wouldnt’ have been right for every young readers I’ve known.  Still, the right young reader will want to spend some time with the book, pointing out the silly-creepy details in the illustrations.

–SueBE

October 26, 2011

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 6:57 pm by suebe2

Bone Dog
by Eric Rohmann
Roaring Brook Press
AR 2.3

“Ella and Gus have been friends for a long, long time.”  But Ella promises Gus that she will always be with him.  When Gus questions how this is possible, Ella has a very simple answer.  “Promises made under a full moon cannot be broken.”

The story quickly moves through Gus loosing Ella and trying slowly but surely to do the things that people expect him to do.  Come Halloween, Gus goes trick-or-treating and, when his bag is full, heads home.  But his skeleton costume is so good that a group of real skeletons surround him and try to get him involved in their frolicking games.  That is until they discover that he’s really a boy.

Things don’t look at all good for Gus when a shimmering figure makes her way to Gus.  Ella, as a bone dog, doesn’t pack much fear for the skeletons until she lets out a baying call and summons the neighborhood dogs to the rescue.

I know, I know.  It sounds really maudlin and I normally would have avoided it (I hate dead pet books), but I love Eric Rohmann’s art work.   Heavy black lines combine with varied colors for a stained glass effect that isn’t as much high art as it is simple and expressive.  Even the skeletons in the story have facial expressions and that’s not easy to pull off.

And it really is funny.  Think about it.  What are skeletons made of?  Big dogs, little dogs, they all like what?  And this is where the illustrations get really, really funny.

Two parts funny, one part sad, this book might not be the best choice for a super sensitive child.  I wouldn’t read it to my niece, but my son?  You bet.  Humor and love combine in a tale that sets out to prove that a boy and his dog are never really very far apart.

–SueBE

 

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