Review sponsored* by Billy Phillips
The Children’s Book Review | October 1, 2015
By Billy Phillips and Jenny Nissenson
Age Range: 11 and up
Hardcover: 305 pages
Publisher: Toon Studio Publishing (June 2015)
What to Expect: Sisters, Zombies, Halloween, and Fears
Heights, darkness, dancing in public—you name it, fourteen-year-old Caitlin is afraid of it. To add to her list of fears, it just happens to be Halloween. In a new city. In a new country. Without her mum. Caitlin’s little sister, Natalie, however, is completely fearless, excited even, by the rumored sightings of dead people emerging from cemeteries around the world.
Then the impossibly cute Jack invites Caitlin to meet him at the local cemetery, keen to find out more about these mysterious sightings, and Natalie thinks Caitlin would be crazy not to go.
At the cemetery though, Caitlin thinks she’s definitely crazy when she finds that it isn’t Jack who’s waiting for her, but a beautiful zombie with long, Rapunzel-like hair. Suddenly Caitlin finds that the characters from the stories Caitlin’s mum read to her as a little girl are all alive, only they’re are all very much, well, dead. Caitlin’s needed in a fairytale world gone wrong, but can she overcome her fears to help save a land of zombies?
Once Upon a Zombie is an intriguing and original story, and one that’s bound to appeal to fans of popular fairytale characters. There’s a lot to like here: a modern, fun, and engaging voice, witty dialogue, and Caitlin’s wisecracking, sassy and smart sister. Smart, too, is the vivid imagination of the authors, with some wonderful visual scenes including the moment when Jack, reduced to the size of a frog, windsurfs on a leaf. The wise, soul-searching caterpillar (who drinks organic mint tea, rather than smoking a hookah) shows how classic characters can be reinvented in such a fun and refreshing way.
At times, the book feels rushed, especially at the ending, with us hurtling through one action-riddled plot point after another—and the epilogue is a tad heavy handed. However, the imagination at work is wonderful, and the dialogue between sisters entertaining and convincing. Young readers looking for reinvented, well-known characters and a light-hearted romp of a read will no doubt enjoy Once Upon a Zombie.
Add this book to your collection: Once Upon a Zombie: Book One: The Color of Fear
About the Authors
Billy Phillips is a writer, creative director and producer. He has ghost-written thirteen best selling non-fiction books, some of which surpassed a million copies sold. This is his debut novel. He owns a large vintage collection of fairy tale books and art and lives in sunny and all-too-dry Southern California.
Jenny Nissenson is a writer, producer and entertainer. She has written for Nickelodeon and lives in Hollywood, California with 1009 puppets and her twenty-five year old pet tortoise.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The author of “Once Upon a Zombie: Book One: The Color of Fear,” Billy Phillips, sponsored* this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …