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Monday, September 13, 2010

Kids Corner: My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies...by Judith Viorst

My Mama Says There Aren't Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Demons, Monsters, Fiend
by Judith Viorst, Kay Chorao (Illustrator)
age level: 4-6

How can Nick believe his mother's telling him there aren't any monsters when she forgets what his favorite flavor of ice cream is? Or when she makes him wear boots and it doesn't even rain?Well, sometimes Mamas do make mistakes...but sometimes they don't.
Judith Viorst's appealing text combines with Kay Chorao's wickedly evocative drawings in this all-new edition of a favorite book.

You may recognize Viorst's name from the childrens classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,  which was one of my absolute favorites as a kid.  When I saw she had a book with zombies in it, I knew I had to do a Kids Corner on it for September Zombies.  And I wasn't disappointed.  Nick goes through a series of scares, like "Sometimes in my bunk bed, I start thinking, / maybe a fiend sneaked into my lower bunk. / And he's sniffing around for a boy to eat, / and I'm the boy that he's sniffing..."  Of course, mama tells him there's no such thing, but...sometimes mamas make mistakes.

This is a great example of what to do in a childrens book.  Each little section is balanced, it's cute and simple to understand, there is a good amount of text to picture, and, for the subject matter, it's a little thrilling, but not really scary, and there's the requisite silly and heart-warming resolution.  Big plus: this is a great example of how rhyming isn't necessary just because you're writing for kids.  [But you've already heard my rant on that.]  Kay Chorao does an excellent job of capturing Viorst's silly monsters as well as the relationship between Nick and his mother.  I could have wished for some color in the illustrations, but a) I know how unusual that was for 1970's illustrations, and b) it kind of gives it a coloring book quality that, in some ways, works.  All in all, I'd say it's a near perfect parent-child read for the Halloween season.

And now, for the zombie: 

My mama says that a zombi
with his eyes rolled back in his head, 
and his arms out stiff, 
and his skin as cold as ice, 
isn't clonking up and up the stairs... 


  1. I'll have to add this children book on my wishlist. :) Thank you for posting!

  2. Thanks for posting! I remember this book as a kid and couldn't remember it's name! I have it now.


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