Fairy Tales Gone Bad: Zombierella


Why does the librarian to the forbidden library place his key into ‘the terrifying mouth to the keyhole‘ that holds the rotten books? Thereafter, he reveals Fairy Tales Gone Bad :Zombierella! 

Cinderella has her inheritance stolen by her FAKE mother who is ‘all horns, fangs and hooves’. Now she scrubs ‘at the black from the floors/ scum from the baths/ the wax from the ears’. Therefore when the a black sheet of paper ‘in the thickest and reddest ink’ invites the household to attend ‘three balls/ over three nights‘ it is unlikely that Cinders will attend. Yet what if the cruel actions of the fake mother and fake sisters is so devastating that Cinderella is transformed into Zombierella? Thereafter, what if her dead pets, including her pony, Lumpkin, become the cast to her entrance to the haunted mansion, at the hand of the shadow of Death?

Joseph Coelho has reprised the traditional story into something gothic, ghoulish, devilishly funny and original. We are by turns disgusted, awed and thoroughly amused. There are so many turns in Zombierella, albeit through beautifully crafted narrative verse, that we are transfixed (though not as much as Zombierella!).In addition, Freya Hartas’ black and white images are so expressive, funny and dramatic! Bookwagon loves Zombierella. What an original and satisfying graphic story!

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Fairy Tales Gone Bad: Zombierella

Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas

(Walker Books)

What if you are the librarian of dangerous, forbidden books, for which you have the key? Furthermore, what if you unlocked Fairy Tales Gone Bad: Zombierella? It seems that the traditional story of Cinderella is rotten. Thereafter, the heroine is grieving the last of her home as her horse, Lumpkin, dies. Everything about Cinders has died, from Fluffy the cat, Simpson the dog- ‘ran into an axe (twice)’ and ‘Karate the goldfish found drowned’! Thereafter she lives in the home of her FAKE mother ‘cold, hard but stunning…’ with her ‘three fake sisters‘, and her inheritance stolen. There seems no way that she might attend the invitation to ‘three balls held over three nights’ sent on black paper from a prince. Or does there?
Might it be that Cinderella could, at the hand of the cruel fake sisters, transform into ZOMBIERELLA? Furthermore, could it be that ‘the shadow of Death’ might summon her dead pets to zombie life that Zombierella is centre stage at the three balls?
Joseph Coelho has rewritten the traditional story in narrative verse. His Zombierella is by turns gruesome, worm-churning, glorious and very funny. Freya Hartas’ black and white illustrations add drama, humour and exclamation to the whole ghoulishly funny tale. Bookwagon awaits future tales from the forbidden library with glee! Fairy Tales Gone Bad: Zombierella is superb!


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