cover image Zombelina Dances the Nutcracker

Zombelina Dances the Nutcracker

Kristyn Crow, illus. by Molly Idle. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-61963-640-8

The undead heroine of Zombelina (2013) returns to dance The Nutcracker, but her ghostly grandfather’s tricks threaten to upend the performance, even after Zombelina snags the role of Clara. Zombelina is a wonderful dancer, but it’s really Idle who’s superbe—few others could make running jokes about detached limbs look this graceful. Crow’s rhymes offer a similar blend of playfulness and gross-out humor (during the dance performance, a friend steps into Zombelina’s shoes—and more—while the young zombie deals with her grandfather’s pranks: “ ‘Tuck in your legs, and let mine dance the show/ With Clara’s long nightgown, they won’t even know!’/ Lizzie looks squeamish, but nods an okay./ ‘I’ve heard “break a leg,” but... never this way.’ ” It’s a satisfyingly creepy alternative to more traditional Nutcracker tales. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Kendra Marcus, Bookstop Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.)