A Zom­bie Vacation

Lisa Rose, Ánge­les Ruiz (illus.)

  • Review
By – December 21, 2020

A cute, com­i­cal zom­bie is the hero of this quirky pic­ture book that encour­ages trav­el to Israel and teach­es about one renowned site, of inter­est to his­to­ri­ans, tourists, and envi­ron­men­tal­ists alike.

The over­worked zom­bie, bad­ly in need of a vaca­tion, takes a trip to Israel and brings young read­ers along for the ride. Trav­el through Israel’s glo­ri­ous land­scape, though, doesn’t suit the zombie’s neg­a­tive taste; there are too many mag­nif­i­cent views to sat­is­fy any zom­bie wor­thy of the name. Our zom­bie hero tries some oth­er world famous venues but none of them are quite right either. The exhaust­ed zom­bie, still in need of a rest, returns to Israel and finds a per­fect vaca­tion spot — the Dead Sea, of course. A glo­ri­ous­ly dilap­i­dat­ed hotel, a sea filled with harsh salts, lots of mud, vul­tures, endan­gered species … where on earth could there be a more ide­al vaca­tion spot for a zom­bie in need of relax­ation and refreshment?

With cre­ativ­i­ty and imag­i­na­tion, the author intro­duces an impor­tant Israeli locale and includes an exten­sive after­word filled with infor­ma­tion about the sci­en­tif­ic and eco­log­i­cal prop­er­ties of the Dead Sea. She calls atten­tion to envi­ron­men­tal issues such as sink­holes while also focus­ing on the enjoy­able tourist expe­ri­ence of float­ing in the Dead Sea with its unique buoy­an­cy due to the salt con­tent. She notes that the Dead Sea is only one des­ti­na­tion in the larg­er Israel trav­el expe­ri­ence and cites sev­er­al oth­ers, includ­ing beau­ti­ful beach­es, mod­ern cities, and areas with his­tor­i­cal artifacts.

The amus­ing art elic­its chuck­les with the zombie’s face show­ing a full range of expres­sions and the faces of a cross-sec­tion of oth­er Israelis react­ing in shock to the pres­ence of a zom­bie among them.

With a hearty dose of whim­sy and humor, the author and illus­tra­tor intro­duce young read­ers to a renowned and fas­ci­nat­ing loca­tion, pos­si­bly spark­ing inter­est in vis­it­ing Israel and tour­ing the coun­try them­selves. This unusu­al book is both infor­ma­tive and fun!

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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