Kid’s Book Review: Zombierella – Fairytales Gone Bad

Kid’s Book Review: Zombierella – Fairytales Gone Bad

About the Book and Author

This is the first in a funny, deliciously dark, three-part series of twisted classics, written in verse by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas and published by Walker Books.

Based on our young reviewer’s reaction we recommend this series to readers 10-14 years rather than 8 years+

A yellow moon hangs in a satin sky the night Cinderella, barefoot and in hand-me-downs, slips at the top of the stairs … and dies.

But The Shadow of Death arrives to breathe life back into her bones and, for three nights only, Cinderella goes forth as Zombierella.

With her skin as cold as ice and her faithful horse Lumpkin back by her side, can she seek revenge on her three cruel, fake sisters, once and for all?

Crawl out of the grave and step into your mushroom carriage for this haunting and humorous adventure of the undead girl searching for her happily ever after.

Zombierella cover

Joe Coelho won the CLiPPA for his debut collection Werewolf Club Rules in 2015. He is a writer, performer and co-founder of Word Pepper Theatre Company. Joe’s poems have been published in several anthologies. Overheard in a Tower Block is his second solo collection and was shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2018. He has also had two picture books published Luna Loves Library Day, illustrated by Fiona Lumbers, and If all the world were…, illustrated by Allison Colpoys. You can find out more from Joseph’s website.

Jospeh Coelho

Book Review

She is luck to have a special friend - a horse called Pumpkin

You can recognise that the story is a twist of the famous fairytale Cinderella. The name Zombierella is kind of a clue – recognisable but definitely different from the traditional story as you will discover if you read the book.

The tale starts in a sad way with Cinderella missing her father. She is very lucky to have a special friend, a horse called Lumpkin,  who goes everywhere with her. He is faithful and I liked that she had a loyal friend.

When a new Prince arrives he wants to get to know everyone and so decides to have a ball. He was a very fussy prince. All of his servants would paint all the windows black, take away all of the garlic and sharpen the pencils. This bit was quite dark and I did not like him and I found the illustrations quite upsetting at times.

You will be pleased to know that there are 3 sisters who are ‘fake’ which I found a bit strange. They like to be extra mean to Cinderella and like to upset her as many times as they can. All of her sisters did not want Cinderella to go to the ball because they wanted the prince all to themselves.

Something terrible happens to Cinderella, but I won’t spoil it for you. The story changes and she has a new name of Zombierella and you will be surprised what happens next to her…

All in all I would say that it was a clever book, but I prefer Joseph’s other poetry as this tale was a bit scary for me.

Perhaps it would be enjoyed more by an older reader who would be less worried by the mean people.




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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Junior Reviewer Iona
  • Name: Iona
  • Age: 8 years
  • Likes: being creative by making things, trampolining and family adventures
  • Dislikes: tomatoes and geography
  • Favourite Book: Mr Stink by David Walliams
  • Favourite Film: Mulen
  • Favourite Song: Havana by Camila Cabello