The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse by Jason Hazeley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is going to be a short review, which is fitting as the book is short. An amuse l’œil, if you like.
It pretty much does what you’d expect from the title: it’s a pisstake of the Ladybird books, a series of books aimed at improving kids’ reading abilities. Widely used in the ’60s and ’70s, these books covered all sorts of topics and were illustrated in a very painterly manner.
The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse is part of a series – featuring entries on hangovers and hipsters – released in response to an art gallery spoof of the original books. (Which Penguin went after, natch.)
The new range features illustrations culled from original Ladybirds, paired with new text. The book reads pretty much as you’d expect it to, and it’s pretty delightful – death is all around and approached with the same vocabulary-widening neutrality as a kids’ Ladybird – except for a bit of a dodgy entry displaying what’s presumably Native Americans as Zombies.
Still, it’s a bit of a treat to see commercial illustration like this being brought back into the mainstream. It’s a very specific style that’s been lost over the decades, and its inclusion is, perhaps more than the tee-hee-zombies aspect of the work – the real reason to give this a read.
This review has probably taken you longer to read than the book will. Hopefully you can spare the time to give it a whirl, too.