Break A Leg! Zombelina by Kristyn Crow
MY NAME IS ZOMBELINA AND I LOVE TO DANCE!
I MOONWALK WITH MUMMIES AND BOOGIE WITH BATS.
I SPIN LIKE A SPECTRE AND GLIDE LIKE A GHOST.
Zombelina's mom decides that it's time for dance lessons, and little Zee is soon off on the family broomstick to Madame Maladroit's School of Ballet. The other little student ballerinas look askance at Zombelina's green complexion, and although Mdm. M. admires her extreme extension (her leg flies high above the barr), the others keep their distance. And when Zombelina executes a grande pirouette, her image even shatters the practice room mirror.
But despite the fearful glances of her corps de ballet, Zombelina persists, and soon it's time for the Maladroit student recital. Zombelina has practiced her plies constantly for the bats in her attic and thinks she's ready for the footlights, but when the music starts, she finds herself frozen with stage fright in the middle of the stage.
I QUIVERED AND SHIVERED RIGHT DOWN TO MY BONES.
I HELD OUT MY ARMS, AND I MADE A FEW MOANS.
"A ZOMBIE!" THE CROWD CRIED WITH HORRIFIED SCREAMS.
THIS WASN'T THE BALLET DEBUT OF MY DREAMS!
Zombelina's ghoulish groans clear the room, except for her loyal family and their spectral friends, but with the pressure off, Zee dances with a heartfelt abandon that leaves her audience howling. Madame Maladroit, who has probably experienced worse horrors at student recitals, is pleased.
It had to happen. Some author was bound to combine those two all-the-rage picture books themes, ballet and zombies, and it seems that Kristyn Crow has done it well in her just-in-time-for-Halloween rhyming zombie story, Zombelina (Bloomsbury, 2013). Artist Molly Idle adds much interest to the story with lots of campy details, such as Zombelina's house on Twisted Lane, her baby brother's cauldron car seat, and Zombelina's tire swing which is actually a life preserver reading RMS Titanic. Greatly abetted by Molly Idle's downright sweet take on not-so-grisly girl zombies, Crow's latest has drawn no moans and groans from the reviewers. Rather, they predict a bright future for ballerina Zombelina. "An unusually well-done mix of Halloween, dance, and family that's sure to please many youngsters," says School Library Journal.
Zombelina lends itself well to a storytime combo with Pace's and Pham's equally trendy Vampirina Ballerina (see review here) and DiPucchio's drop-dead funny Zombie in Love (see my review here).