Special Edition Literacy Café: Scott Campbell & Zombie in Love

Back in September, I attended the Book Release and Art Exhibit event for Scott Campbell who illustrated Zombie in Love (written by Kelly DiPucchio).  You can read my post here.   While I was at the event, I chatted with Scott about possibly doing a school visit.  Amazingly enough for my school, he agreed.  (Yes, I did a happy dance when I found out.)

Once it was confirmed, I started planning with Angie who runs the Literacy Cafés for the school.  We knew we could do a great Special Edition Café for Zombie In Love and for Scott Campbell.

Angie started planning and creating decorations.

I had one of our students design a welcome sign.

The room was prepared.  Activities were thought out and prepped.

When Scott arrived, we had Rupert Holmes' Escape (The Pina Colada Song) playing in the background.  We asked him to read the story to the students outside on blankets. (It was a perfect fall day.)

When all of the children came in, Scott did some drawings and talked about his artistic process.  He even drew Mortimer and Mildred for us and we added them to the picture of Lucille Beatrice Bear (Yes, Peter Brown - Lucy is even happy to have Zombies for friends.)

After drawing for us, Scott had a chance to observe students as they worked on some writing and drawing activities that centered around the book.

We wrapped up with punch (yes, there was pineapple rings in it) and popcorn.  Every café has to have food.  And then Scott signed books for his new friends.

Thanks Scott for coming out to the school and hanging with us.  We had a blast. 

Check out this animoto of the Literacy Café.

Book Review (Well sort of) - Zombie in Love

Author:  Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrator: Scott Campbell
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (August 23, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8 (Adults will love this too)
Source: Personal Copy (though I did see an Advance Copy)

Description from GoodReads:
Mortimer is looking for love. And he’s looking everywhere! He’s worked out at the gym (if only his arm wouldn’t keep falling off). He’s tried ballroom dancing lessons (but the ladies found him to be a bit stiff). He’s even been on stalemate.com. How’s a guy supposed to find a ghoul? When it seems all hope has died, could the girl of Mortimer’s dreams be just one horrifying shriek away?

I have a confession to make.  I think I have a penchant for macabre romance.  Not since Boris and Bella by Carolyn Crimi & Gris Grimly, though, have I become so enamored with a picture book love story.  When I saw an Advance Copy of this book, I knew I had to have it.    

"Mortimer was lonely."  What's a zombie looking for a date to Cupid's Ball suppose to do?  DiPucchio tells us just how to go about finding your perfect undead soulmate.

I have read a variety of picture books by Kelly DiPucchio but I think this one might be my favorite of hers from this year.  Zombie in Love is a good example of what happens when you take a great concept, add in some witty text including a nod to the Rupert Holmes' Pina Colada song, and top it all off with the perfect illustrations.  DiPucchio and Campbell have a hit with this book. Not only will it be a great read aloud to children at Halloween or well even Valentine's Day, but this will also appeal to adults (which is always helpful when you might be reading it a dozen times).

Recently, I had a chance to visit Nucleus Gallery in Alhambra, California for the Book Release and Art Exhibit of Zombie in Love.  Nucleus hosted a special party complete with a Zombie Prom Theme.  Scott Campbell, Illustrator, chatted with the audience (many whom were dressed up in Zombie Prom outfits), drew pictures of characters in the book, and signed lots of copies of Zombies in Love.  To check out the event, click here

Mortimer and Mildred made an appearance.
It was great hearing Scott talk about how Kelly's notes provided him with the direction for several of his illustrations.  And based on the questions from the audience, it sounds like many would like to know more about Mildred's back story.  There was some serious concern about whether Mildred had any friends, especially since Mortimer has a zombie dog and his worm buddies.

A few of Scott's illustrations from the book.
If you haven't picked up a copy of Zombies in Love, I encourage you to purchase one from your local indie bookstore or check it out from your friendly neighborhood library.  Or check out Nucleus Gallery's website for a limited edition print from Zombie in Love or a cool sticker sheet

For more information about author, Kelly DiPucchio, check out her blog:

You can follow her on twitter: @kellydipucchio

For more information about illustrator, Scott Campbell, check out his website: http://www.pyramidcar.com/

You can follow him on twitter: @scottlava 

An interview with Scott Campbell on the Simon & Schuster page, click here to read it.