Zombiekins (review)
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Reviewed by
Bolger, Kevin. Zombiekins; illus. by Aaron Blecha. Razorbill, 2010. [208p]. ISBN 978-1-59514-177-4 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 3-6.

A yard sale at Widow Imavitch's spooky old house is not an event to be missed. Still, Stanley and Miranda are kind of disappointed in her wares, at least until Stanley finds a creepy-cute stuffed toy called Zombiekins still in its box. Mostly teddy bear, it has one bunny ear, lizard feet, clawed and webbed paws, and fangs, but most importantly, it comes with instructions that Stanley ignores despite Widow Imavitch's warnings. Later that night, a ray of moonlight animates the undead toy, and the gruesome hilarity begins. Soon, Stanley's school is overrun by zombies, and he and Miranda have to figure out how to stop the toy and reverse its effects before it's too late. Offering a thoroughly accessible introduction to verbal, situational, and dramatic irony, this generously illustrated chapter book mines multiple veins of humor, from witty turns of phrase and metafictional intrusions, send-ups of conventional story expectations, surprise reversals, horror-genre allusions, and physical slapstick to good, old-fashioned grossout fare; certainly, it's a contemporary riff on Dahl, but it's perhaps even funnier. The zany line-art caricatures sometimes support the text directly but more often stand in hilarious ironic counterpoint to the words. Plot pacing is perfect, with richly detailed escalation that offers plenty of time for wacky character humor in the school setting and a quick denouement that opens the possibility for a sequel, which readers will certainly welcome. [End Page 472]

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