Zombelina School Days

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Zombelina School Days Book Poster Image
Silly fun as dancing zombie girl breaks out at school.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows basics of school life and characteristics of zombies, mainly that body parts can fall off and reattach. 

Positive Messages

"We're each different but that makes us cool." "Things turn out in the end." Kids who seem strange may turn out to be good friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zombelina is upbeat, friendly, compassionate, respectful in class, inclusive in play, and reaches out to new student Morty, a ghost. Her parents are supportive and welcoming toward her friends. Her teacher's kind and accepts Zombelina's differences (like her body parts falling off).

Violence & Scariness

Zombelina's body parts fall off, or her top half goes one direction and her bottom half in the other, but it's played for laughs and not scary. 

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zombelina School Days is the third picture book in a series by author Kristyn Crow and award-wining illustrator Molly Idle (Flora and the Flamingo). As in Zombelina, which introduced the ballet-loving zombie girl, and the holiday-themed Zombelina Dances the Nutcracker, this back-to-school-themed outing is loaded with clever rhymes and spooky jokes and puns that play with the notion of a body-part-dropping zombie doing regular kid activities. Like when Zombelina aims to answer a question and raises her "hand in the air ... but it falls on the floor and rolls under the chair." Or when she literally puts her nose in a book. The cute illustrations are more cheery than scary, and there's a nice message of inclusion as Zombelina draws in a ghostly new student named Morty.

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What's the story?

In ZOMBELINA SCHOOL DAYS, the ballet-loving Zombelina is excited to show off her dance moves: "Today's show-and-tell day, and nobody knows,/ my HIP-HOP's to DIE for! I break like the pros!" As the day progresses -- with her limbs falling away, eyeball popping out, and nose falling in a book -- she befriends a ghost boy named Morty, teaches her classmates some dance steps, and plans a dance party at her home on Saturday. Reflecting on her human and paranormal pals at the party, she says, "We're each different but that makes us cool./ Now I'm DYING to see all my friends back at school." 

Is it any good?

This zombified back-to-school book is loads of fun. Zombelina School Days is packed with jokes and puns related to the cute, upbeat zombie girl being undead and having her body parts fall off. There's nothing scary here. It's mainly a story of inclusion as the class and teacher appreciate each student for his or her special talent and Zombelina reaches out to the new student -- a ghost boy -- to make him feel less strange. 

Award-winning illustrator Molly Idle gives each student in the diverse classroom a distinct look and personality, with lots of funny reaction takes -- even though students and teacher never seem too disturbed by Zombelina's parts bouncing about the classroom.  The funniest moment is when "things begin falling apart" during her dance and her top half ends up chasing after her bottom half. 

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Zombelina School Days shows that a zombie's body parts can fall off and reattach. Would you like to have that kind of power? Does it seem scary or funny?

  • What if a zombie came to your school -- would you make friends or keep away? 

  • Zombelina's special talent is dancing. What's yours? 

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