Halloween picture books fascinate me. When my son was little, our favorite was probably the Berenstain Bears Spooky Old Tree. If you have never read it, it is an early reader picture book about whether or not the bears will dare to go inside this massive spooky tree. Of course, they do it or it would be a really short and rather pointless book.
This weekend, I read Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio. Mortimer is lonely. He’s tried to find a girlfriend but none of the girls he approaches can see his winning smile, his caring heart or his funny bone. They just see that he’s a zombie.
So where does the funny come in? This is one of those books that sound sweet and sincere when you read the text and the humor frequently comes in through the illustrations. Imagine a zombie with a snaggle-toothes smile, an infested box of chocolate and a suit that has most likely spent some time underground. Now imagine Mortimer approaching a formal-wearing girls at a dance.
For a young reader who is fascinated by the zombie’s that entertain and amuse older siblings or parents but just can’t handle the gore and the screams, a picture book is the perfect solution. Written for a young audience, it keeps the gore fairly light. When Mortimer tries to work out and his arm is pulled off by the weights, it is nasty because you know it is nasty. The illustration? Not nasty at all.
The humor takes the edge off even this level of nasty.
Some other Halloween picture books you might read are Creepy Carrots or Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown, Anne Marie Pace’s Vamperina Ballerina, Bonaparte Falls Apart by Margery Cuyler, and How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green.