Zombies are all the rage with teens, and stories of lovelorn adolescent lads trying to find the perfect girl in time for the big dance abound. This quest for companionship, however, is aimed at a decidedly younger crowd.
DiPucchio and Campbell pair their considerable talents to tell the tale of poor Mortimer, a zombie looking for love in all the wrong places. At the gym, others freak out when his arm breaks off while lifting weights. While taking dance lessons, his only partner is an uncooperative skeleton. But then he decides to place a personal ad in the newspaper: “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. / …I’m dying to meet you!” Mortimer goes to the ball with high hopes, but the night drags on as his attentions are repeatedly spurned. Just as he is about to leave he hears a crash. “There on the floor was a girl…and she was drop-dead gorgeous.” Text loaded with humorous understatement and Campbell’s skillfully detailed watercolors in a palette of decay (think watery reds, putrid grays and sickly greens) are both clever and delightfully gross. When Mortimer offers his heart to a girl, the undead gent presents his actual organ.
Probably best suited for sharing with primary graders, who will squirm between fits of laughter. (Picture book. 6-8)