Illustrated by Scott Campbell
Atheneum Books, 2011
$12.99, ages 4-8, 32 pages
A zombie goes online to find the girl of his dreams, an undead gal with chipped up teeth, in this hilarious love story that's as cute for Halloween as it is for Valentine's Day.
Mortimer, a bulgy-eyed fellow with sallow skin and shredded clothes, longs for love but as Valentine's day approaches, he seems to be looking for love in all the wrong places.
At the bus stop, he offers a box of chocolate-covered worms to a girl on a bench but she scooches away. And when the mail carrier rings his door bell, he thrusts a beating heart in her face, but she cringes.
Even the waitress at the dinner gives him the cold shoulder. "But why?" he wonders to himself. After all he did offer her a diamond ring -- all nicely presented in a hinged box, on a severed ring finger.
Poor Mortimer, he just doesn't have the touch. Perhaps what he needs are a few primers on dating. So, he buries himself in a pile of books about dead dates and graveyard love, then takes their advice and tries to look available.
He walks his dog, an interesting fellow with a dangling eye and a skeletal maw; he goes to lift weights, though he has to reattach his severed arm. He even takes ballroom classes with a skeleton. But none of it makes any difference.
Then Mortimer is struck with genius. He'll take out a personal ad for a date to Cupid's Ball! It's perfect: he'll list all his great qualities, like the fact he's "tall, dead and handsome." And he'll suggest some romantic things they could do.
Like walking in graveyards and falling down in the rain. "If you're not into cooking," he writes in his ad. "if you have half a brain. / If you like waking up a midnight, / horror films, and voodoo, / then I'm the guy who you've looked for / and I'm dying to meet you!"
So he gets all spiffed up in a tattered funeral home suit and goes to the ball to wait for his blind date. But as the night wears on and no one comes, he grows weary. Maybe he just needs to flash a big rotted smile at the gals or pop some death mints in his mouth.
Ah, but no. No luck. The girls in their elegant gowns only laugh or frown at him. Could it be that no one is dying to meet him? But wait, what is that crashing into the punch bowl? Wow, that girl's drop-dead gorgeous; she's even lost her slipper and a bit of leg.
But will she let Mortimer place her severed leg back on her knee bone?
By the looks of the last pictures of Zombie Love, she'll even let him hold her dismembered hand on a stroll through the graveyard.
Now that's zombie love.
Now that's zombie love.