By Author / Illustrator
Joseph Coelho, Freya Hartas
Walker Books Ltd
Paperback / softback
"Such a fun story with excellent illustrations ... with enough familiarity to feel known but with enough difference to make it quirky and original." Malorie Blackman
A yellow moon hangs in a satin sky the night Cinderella, barefoot and in hand-me-downs, slips at the top of the stairs... and dies. But not for long. The Shadow of Death arrives to breathe life back into her bones and, for three nights only, Cinderella goes forth as ZOMBIERELLA. With her skin as cold as ice and her faithful horse Lumpkin back by her side, can she seek revenge on her three cruel, fake sisters, once and for all?
Crawl out of the grave and step into your mushroom carriage for this haunting and humorous adventure of the undead girl searching for her happily ever after.
Zombierella is a very alternative version of Cinderella, nothing like any other version you will have read before. Full of shocks and yucky moments, this is the sort of version that children will love.
Cinderella lives with her fake sisters and fake mother (who had almost certainly murdered her real father) and they make her life a misery; so far, so much like the original. But this is where this story differs; the Prince is a Vampire who feeds on his brides, plural, and keeps moving on to find a new one. Before she can get to the ball, Cinderella dies and is resurrected on a temporary basis by Death. After several gory and revolting moments, the story ends happily ever after, only with rather fewer feet than the characters started out with.
My seven-year-old read and enjoyed this; her verdict was that it was Cinderella with a sad and bad bit in the middle, but the right ending - which pretty much sums it up. I have to confess to not enjoying the gory bits, but I'm not a seven-year-old and she seemed unbothered by it.
I think what really helps are the wonderful illustrations. Cinderella/Zombierella is beautiful, even when dead! The bloodier parts of the book are rendered in cartoon, with no real gore in sight, just bones sticking out! Each of the fake sisters is also beautifully recreated as larger than life characters and the whole thing is in black and white. The cover is particularly gorgeous.
The book is also really accessible for a young audience, using some challenging vocabulary in such a way that it becomes easy to comprehend; "the mushroom swelled and bloated into the form of a carriage..." And at times the characters do things like nasalize to each other, or phlegm instead of speaking! The language is very poetic and at times the story is told through poems.
There is obviously scope for many more books in this series and as the inscription at the front of the book says, children will always enjoy the gruesome tales because there is something deliciously wicked about them.
192 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 7+