Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Drop-Dead Romance: Zombie In Love: by Kelly DiPucchio



But Mortimer the Zombie is nobody's sweetheart now.

Not for lack of trying, mind you. Mortimer just can't seem to get the hang of romancing the lasses. He tries a nice red heart--freshly-extracted and still barely beating--but the girls just run away screaming. He tucks his favorite pet worms into the coffin-shaped box of chocolates he presents to one charming chick, but she flees the page in fear and trembling. His gift to the cute waitress at the diner--a diamond ring (still on its former owner's finger)--goes over like a lead-lined casket. His want ad in the lovelorn column of the classifieds--"TALL, DEAD, AND HANDSOME"--inexplicably goes without a reply.

But Mortimer is a swain not easily dissuaded. Dateless but undaunted, he decides to go stag to the ball. He heads off to shop for a new suit--at the nearby undertaker's parlor--and sets off for Cupid's Ball, full of unrequited desire and high hopes.

The joint is jumping, with cavorting couples crowding the dance floor. Mortimer takes up a hopeful stance near the refreshment table, hoping to spot a similarly stag damsel who's looking for a dance partner, but his best greenish smiles and wormy roses seem to discourage snacking and sends the lovelies loping for the nearest ladies' lounge. Soon nobody seems to be in the mood for punch and cookies.

The crowd thins, the band goes into their "goodnight, ladies" repertoire, the staff begins to sweep up, and it looks like Cupid's Ball is going to be a bust for poor lonely Mort.

But then a solitary girl straggles up to the punch bowl and gives Mortimer a hopeful smile--a gorgeously green smile. Never mind that she spills the punch, falls flat on her face, and breaks off a leg in the process! Mildew Mildred is obviously Mortimer's true love, and after they dance the night away (once she reattaches her foot), they go out for a romantic walk through the graveyard, (detached) hand in (detached) hand, and the two soul mates drive off in their very own limo:


In the perfect antidote to hearts and flowers fiction, Kelly Di Pucchio's drop-dead funny Zombie in Love (Atheneum, 2011) takes the zombie lit craze to a whole new level. Filled with Scott Campbell's wry sight gags and dreary palette which gives black humor a new lease on life, this spoof on the lonely-guy-meets-girl love story will evince a gaggle of gross-out giggles, punctuated with "eeeuuuwwws" and "yucks," from kids in the primary grades who find the whole love thing a bit "grossening" anyway. A great little storytime treat with some heart-y har-hars for the pre-Valentine season.

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