Thursday, February 9, 2012
Book Review: The Tonawanda News
(Admit it. You’d say “What?” when confronted with that title, too.)
Then I said yes, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from the book by Edward Kent.
Kent, a resident of West Seneca and native of Wilson, tells a rhyming tale about a boy dealing with a bully at school … and the aforementioned boy just happens to be, you know, the walking undead. (Stay with me here.)
The pictures are simply colored, but appealing. Ed isn’t one of those disgusting, gore-dripping types of zombies. (He’s kind of gray, has bags under his eyes and one arm and hand are skeletal.)
And Ed’s … uh, condition … isn’t a bad metaphor for many things. As the parent of a child with a disability (who loves basketball), I admit smiling when I read “Ed plays the same games, and can shoot a basketball. He runs a bit slower, but that is all!”
And for a book about a zombie at school, “Stop Bullying Me! I’m a Zombie. So What?” is oddly one of the more practical kids’ books I’ve seen about bullying. Kent shows Ed trying a number of different things so-called “experts” recommend children do about bullying, including telling his principal and his mom, talking to him and trying to get his friends to help.
Each of them strikes out in its own way (for example, telling “the authorities” just makes things worse, something I’ve rarely seen a children’s book admit). Friends tell Ed to hide when the bully is coming, but he doesn’t want to do that. So what’s a zombie to do?
Well, the book ends with this ultimatum:
“But I’m a zombie and that won’t change, so get it through your head. I will not run, I will not hide, and my name is Zombie Ed!”
The book also doesn’t bother to take the easy way out with Ed’s friends, who are scared to stand up for him. Instead, it acknowledges that they’re scared too … and declines to scold them for that fact.
Realism from a zombie book. Now I’ve seen everything.
At first, I thought “Stop Bullying Me!” was probably a one-shot book, probably trying to capitalize on the current focus on bullying and the popularity of zombies (“The Walking Dead,” anyone?) But the back of the book states that it’s the fifth in the series of Zombie Ed stories, which also include “Zombie Ed knows his ABCs!” and “Zombie Ed Loves Halloween!”
I confess myself intrigued. Now we just need “Zombie Ed Loves Brrraaaiiinnnsss!”
Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at jill.keppeler@
Posted by Edward Kent at 1:00 PM