There are little things to indicate if your family is of the “different” variety. Take for instance, the book choice that my son chose to share with his kindergarten class during his special week as VIP.
Being the VIP for the week was a title of the utmost revere and kids wait all year for the chance to share a part of their what makes them unique.I can only imagine that most kids in his class brought Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, or perhaps various super hero or princess books that you could find in any children’s section of the library. But not my kid!
“Jack and the Zombie Attack,” written by Amy Hernandez and illustrated by Chris Hernandez was his first and only choice for the special occasion. I picked this book up at WonderCon along with their second book “Jack and the Pirate Attack.”
As soon as I saw the cover of “Jack and the Zombie Attack” I knew instantly that it was something that my son would love to read. In our house, what kid wouldn’t want to read about a little boy wanting to become a zombie? With its wonderful rhymes in iambic pentameter, marvelously macabre illustrations plus a heart warming story line, I guess I didn’t think how children other than my own would react to a zombie tale.
The book was met with giggles and gasps. A few kids were grossed out while others listened with wide eyes as the teacher read it out loud.
Apparently, not all kids play zombies at home. Or perhaps they aren’t allowed to play zombies. A book about a little boy desperate to join a zombie hoard and feast on human flesh freaked out a few kids.
My own two kids chuckle when it is read to them. Especially the bit about zombies smelling like “stinky farts.”
Kids like farts, right?
I might have underestimated our kindergarten crowd when I smiled and said to my son, “That’s a fantastic book! The kids in class will love it!”
After all, the book is definitely geared for children. The book’s creators are a husband and wife team who drew inspiration from their own five year old wannabe zombie, Jack.
Mrs. Hernandez is a fourth grade teacher while Mr. Hernandez is a substitute teacher as well as a graphic artist and illustrator. Mr. Hernandez would chase students around the playground while pretending to be a zombie because, lets face it, A LOT of kids love to role play as brain eating monsters. Whether or not their parents want them to is a different story.
When the couple’s own son started to chase his kindergarten classmates around the schoolyard whilst pretending to be an extra on “The Walking Dead,” it was met with resistance from school administrators. Chris and Amy Hernandez soon realized that Jack and his zombie role play could inspire the next generation of horror fans. Funny cell phone pictures of Jack in undead makeup morphed into characatures which soon turned into illustrations. In turn, these drawings sparked the beginning of a children’s book. Chris and Amy Hernandez realized that Jack and his undying love for zombie role play could inspire the next generation of horror fans. Chris Hernandez explains that Jack and the Zombie Attack would “open a door into a different world” for young readers.
In my opinion, it is not any more scary than an oddly shaped caterpillar eating everything in sight. Or more frightening than a deranged homeless person breaking into houses, eating a stranger’s porridge and then taking a nap in three different beds! It’s a fun book with great pictures of zombies holding “BWAINS!” whilst their flesh rots off. No big deal, right?
Well, I learned something that day. Not all kids find humor in the same things that my family does. Also, maybe a test audience before the big day is a good idea. I’ll have to work on widening my demographic beyond haunt monster children, convention goers and Halloween enthusiasts.
At school the book was met with mixed but mostly thumbs up reviews. The cool kids at the Fearist house love “Jack and the Zombie Attack.” If your kids aren’t a fan of zombies or if you’re looking for another kid friendly book from the same creators, please check out “Zack and the Pirate Attack.” It’s a fantastic book with an anti-bullying message. Find them both on amazon, check out their Facebook page and follow the Instagram for more information on how to get a copy of your very own. You can also fetch yourself a copy at San Diego Comic Con this July at the Zombie Playground Publishing booth in the small press section booth N2.