Friday, December 10, 2010

Freaks and Zombies

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Enter If You Dare! is the seventh compendium of all things bizarre, freakish, and grotesque from around the world. You know the stuff: a sculpture of an Australian actress made with 24,000 peaches, an eighteen-inch-long fingernail, mice kebabs, a turtle with two heads and six legs, a man with 240 body piercings (he’s a retired bank manager, believe it or not). As silly as it all is, I have trouble putting the damn thing down every time I look at it, and I can think of a few ten-year-olds right off the bat who would spend hours soaking up the “information.”

In the same vein (pun intended) is A Zombie’s Guide to the Human Body: Tasty Tidbits from Head to Toe published by Scholastic. Professor Zombie adds his own editorial comments and zombie-centric visuals to basic information about body systems (skeletal, digestive, urinary, muscular, cardiovascular, etc.). Every page is littered with blood splatter, unidentifiable splotches of pus-like gore, drool stains, and zombie photos taped over images of living people. It’s gimmicky and distracting and not at all an essential purchase for libraries, but for a zombie-phile reluctant reader, it might be the perfect match of book and reader. The professor offers such nuggets as “SKULLS HARD! COVER UP BRAIN! SKULLS BAD!” and “BRAIN COMES IN 2 SERVINGS” and “FOR QUICK ENERGY TRY LIVER.” Bon appétit!

-- Kitty Flynn

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