Chad Waters, Matt Rose
Red Maverick Publishing
You may not be aware, but Waker Safety is a subject that’s close to my heart. Every year, hundreds of kids are devoured by the undead as a result of playing irresponsibly close to graveyards.
…okay, so Waker Safety may not be a real thing (yet), but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t save your kid’s life some day. Co-created by Chad Waters and Matt Rose (collectively known as Grimm Grotto Goods) back in 2004 as a “zombie safety short for children,” the tale of Tommy Tenderheart is one of caution…an example of what NOT to do if (when) the undead finally start rising from their graves, hungry for the tender flesh of tiny children. From that original short, the duo spun their concept off for another short film (P.M.A.C.: When Zombies Attack!!) and comic book series starring Post Mortem Animation Control (P.M.A.C.) Officer Frank Hadley. Now, in board book form, the When Zombies Attack!! franchise comes full circle.
ZOMBIE FOOD (A Tommy Tendertreat Tale) essentially translates the puppet show from Waters and Rose’s original short, but does so in a remarkably entertaining style. Combining puppets with both digital and practical set pieces, the story of young Tommy Tendertreat comes to life as though you’re flipping through the stills of a stop motion movie, not unlike Corpse Bride or Paranorman. The blend between digital and practical are almost seamless, crafting a refreshingly unique visual aesthetic to this macabre little picture book.
Story-wise, the narrative is relatively simple. It’s about what you would expect for a book meant to be enjoyed (or instill terror) in small children, ensuring that today’s ankle biters don’t become tomorrow’s brain munchers. Tommy is a young boy who foolishly takes a shortcut on his way home from school and wanders into a graveyard full of hungry zombies. Naturally the zombies overtake Tommy and…well, I won’t ruin in the ending suffice to say that he becomes an example for his fellow classmates. Poor Tommy.
Finally, the production quality of the book is top notch. Durable to withstand bites (whether from kids or zombies, it’s hard to say), the book also features some nice ornate details such as an embossed title and selective gloss finishing on the interior that highlights specific objects and/or characters. They’re subtle touches, but add a level of polish that most other titles might overlook.
OUT OF 5
ZOMBIE FOOD (A Tommy Tendertreat Tale) is a highly polished, well-produced novelty book that features a unique visual style that blends digital and practical effects almost seamlessly. The one thing that might turn off horror fans would be the cover price, but if you’re a hardcore zombie fantastic—or just care about educating your kids on Waker Safety—this book will make an excellent addition to your library.
+ Amazing visuals
+ Easy read for kids
+ Attention to details
– Cover price is high