Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas

At the back of a library rests the old, neglected books. Dust-covered, foul-smelling and broken, our narrator uncovers the fairy-tales which have gone bad. Welcome to the first of three stories by poet and author, Joseph Coelho, Zombierella – his reimagining of Cinderella.

This retelling of such a well-known fairy tale is not for the faint-hearted! Coelho writes about death, mutilation, dismemberment and many other grisly bits, all brought to life by the fabulous and intricate illustrations of Freya Hartas. Yet this is also a story that is funny, modern and contains all the elements so many young readers will adore.

Written in verse, this makes for an ideal tale for children to read aloud, and to read together. At times the language is rightfully challenging for the age-group it is aimed at (8 years plus) and there are  moments of poetic beauty, for example “…danced like the room was empty…” and “…danced like starlight carried their steps…” to inspire budding writers.

Published by Walker Books

Perfect to read aloud

Reviewed by Justine Daniels