no shambling zombies here

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30 DAYS OF PB 2013 aDay Ten: Zombelina by Kristyn Crow, illustrated by Molly Idle

Walker Books (Bloomsbury), 2013.

zombelinacoverEven the undead have dreams and Zombelina’s family would see hers realized. They decide to enroll her in ballet lessons with living girls, one of whom seems to have a delightfully weak stomach. Zombelina practices her way through the demi-plies and chasses she learns from Madame Maladroit (nice name for a ballet instructor/studio owner). The night of the recital finds Zombelina dead in her tracks, stage-frightened she becomes inadvertently frightening, and soon her solo act finds all the audience she needs to shine—her family.

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This is a good book for your young performer’s jitters. And that the rhymes are smart and entertaining shouldn’t hurt any child reader/listener either. The illustrations compliment the sweetness and charm of Crow’s text. Idle has already demonstrated her skill composing elegant lines for the dancer’s grace and poise in Flora and the Flamingo; she does no less in Zombelina. Zombelina is cute, her amputations likewise. I really enjoyed the details Idle brings to the story: the family portraits are hysterical, the arm from under the table which is actually a casket, and the foot; the girl looking to vomit when Zombelina extends her leg at the bar; the bored sibling in the recital audience; the monster under the bed as Zombelina “dead tired” rests in peace clutching her black roses.

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Zombelina is fittingly pretty and girlish and pleasantly dark. Zombelina isn’t Wednesday Adams, but neither is she Fancy Nancy. Crow and Idle’s book would have been an easy purchase for Natalya when she was still small and spinning about the house to the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack (who am I kidding, she still does this at 13).

Do not leave this one only for Halloween.

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{images belong to Molly Idle}

See yesterday’s Illustrator Spotlight for two more books illustrated by Molly Idle

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