Zombie in Love

Image Credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster), Kelly DiPucchio/Steve Campbell

Image Credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster), Kelly DiPucchio/Scott Campbell

Here at Read It Real Good, I make an effort to review diverse books. I don’t discriminate and my definition of diverse is broad. I’m very accepting of the living AND the un-dead. Haha. Zombie in Love is adorable. Mortimer’s just looking for love. He needs a date for the Cupid’s Ball, but for some reason, the ladies aren’t very interested. It could be that he’s a zombie but I think he’s pretty adorable. He gets clever and puts an ad in the local paper for a date (from Tall Dead and Handsome); meet him at the punch bowl he says. Poor guy waits…an entire lifetime it seems, for his girl.

When I need a chuckle, I read this book. I’m not really into zombies at all but there’s just something about this book! Kelly DiPucchio is the queen of clever puns and dry humor. If you haven’t checked out my review for her book Everyone Loves Bacon, please do. She is AMAZING and is in my top author list. Scott Campbell’s watercolor illustrations are delightful. Don’t worry, this book isn’t very scary or creepy; it’s more hilarious than anything. Mortimer has a zombie dog and a few earthworm sidekicks who help him out on his quest for love. I highly recommend this book if you like a good laugh, clever writing and great illustrations. Also, if you fall in love with this one, check out the sequel Zombie in Love 2 + 1!

Recommended for: Ages 7 and up (some slightly creepy moments…zombies)
Great for: Humor, Zombies!!, Friendship, Determination
Book Info: Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio/Illustrated by Scott Campbell, 2011 Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster), ISBN: 9781442402706

Billy and Goat at the State Fair

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), Dan Yaccarino

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), Dan Yaccarino

An outgoing goat and a timid young boy go on an adventure at a State Fair. Ah, this is a good one. Honestly, I’m a little biased because I really enjoy Dan Yaccarino’s stories and art style. So when I saw this book on the shelves, I made “grabby hands” and made it my staff pick, naturally.

This story is so very sweet. Billy is a very introverted boy but his goat friend is quite the opposite; he’s a little dude who loves adventures! Goat is excited to go to the big State Fair but Billy is afraid…yet he goes to support his friend in the Best Goat Competition. Goat gets a little distracted though, and explores the fair while Billy scrambles to find him. Goat gets Billy out of his comfort zone and before he knows it, they’re both enjoying all the State Fair has to offer. When friends support each other (and give a little nudge of encouragement), great things happen.

Oh let’s talk about the art! Something about Yaccarino’s style sings to me. I’m also a big fan of the Doug Unplugged books and Every Friday (so sweet). I love his use of color, shape and line and the retro feel of his art. I often place him in my mind with Bob Staake and Stephen Savage. I love the little details in his art for the State Fair; a simple white outline for a glass bottle with a black ring, yellow teacup rides with black shadowed figures. It’s about the little things and Yaccarino excels at them. I can’t recommend this story of friendship enough. 🙂

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Friendship, Colors, Discussion, Animals
Book Info: Billy and Goat at the State Fair by Dan Yaccarino, 2015 Alfred A. Knopf (Random House) ISBN: 9780385753258

Shark Detective!

Image Credit: Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), Jessica Olien

Image Credit: Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), Jessica Olien

Shark Detective is one of my favorite picture books for 2015. It’s a relatively simple story but sometimes simple is the most difficult to pull off. Olien’s shark tale makes me smile every time I read it; there’s something very endearing about Shark and his desire to become a detective. He’s a gentleman and has everyone’s best interests in mind, even when they are less than understanding about his sharky appearance.

Shark lives a lonely life in a hotel room where he dreams of being a big time detective. He gets his break when he notices a “Missing Kitty” poster on the street and decides to put his skills to the test. Shark doesn’t take this mission lightly; he does plenty of thoughtful research to solve the mystery and even makes a friend along the way.

Olien’s bold digital illustrations are great. I love the extra attention to detail with her characters’ expressions. Shark Detective is not only smart; it’s also a cute story about determination and friendship. I’m really hoping there will be a sequel because I’m anxious to see what case Shark Detective will sniff out next!

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Friendship, Humor, Discussion, Sharks, Animals, Mystery, Community
Book Info: Shark Detective by Jessica Olien, 2015 Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), ISBN: 9780062357144