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The Zombie Zone (A to Z Mysteries) Paperback – April 26, 2005

35 customer reviews
Book 26 of 26 in the A to Z Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

RON ROY has been writing books for children since 1974. He is the author of dozens of books, including the popular A to Z Mysteries®, Calendar Mysteries, and Capital Mysteries. When not working on a new book, Ron likes to teach tricks to his dog Pal, play poker with friends, travel, and read thrilling mystery books.
STEPHEN GILPIN is the award-winning illustrator of dozens of children’s books, including the popular and very funny Pirate Mom. He brings his fresh, kid-friendly style to all the covers of the A to Z Mysteries® series.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; ne edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375824839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375824838
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

author spotlight
"I'm totally convinced that I am a writer today because I loved books as a kid."--Ron Roy

Ron Roy is the author of the popular A to Z Mysteries series, as well as the Capital Mysteries series, and several picture books. He lives in Connecticut.


"When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?" I have been asked that question many times since my first book, A Thousand Pails of Water, was published in 1978. Now that I've had so many years to think of an answer, I guess I have to say that at age nine I had an inkling that words were going to be a big part of my life.

When I turned nine, I received for my birthday a wonderful gift--a book. It was about King Arthur and his knights. Even though I vividly remember the shiny blue and red cover and the smell of the new paper, I don't remember the author. But I thank her or him every day of my writing life. That writer stirred up something in me that has been bubbling ever since: a love for reading, and the urgent need to put words down on paper.

In spite of my love for reading, writing as a profession never occurred to me until I became an adult. I worked at an odd variety of jobs before I realized that writing was what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. Over the years, I waited tables, sold hot dogs, and drove a "Tooth" van from which I taught kids how to brush their teeth and floss. One year I traveled across the world to Hong Kong and taught English to Vietnamese adults. I wrote feature stories for a newspaper and designed letterhead for a printer. One happy summer I worked as a camp counselor.

After two years in the navy and more travel, I landed in the freshman class at the University of Connecticut. Naturally, I majored in English literature. More doors opened for me as I read poetry, novels, essays, and did my share of writing. Still, I did not see myself as a writer. I knew that I enjoyed being around kids, so I became a schoolteacher.

And then, finally, in a fourth-grade classroom, the light bulb in my head flickered on and shone brightly. Its message was, I WANT TO WRITE! In my classroom, I was surrounded by kids and their books. I read those books and fell in love with the characters, the authors, the messages. I was hooked, but I never fought. I allowed myself to be reeled in.

My writing life began one evening after reading parts of Charlotte's Web to my class. Home from teaching, I walked into my apartment, dropped my bookbag, and headed for the typewriter (this was before word processing came along!). I wrote my first story that night and sent it to a book publisher the next day. Four weeks later I received my first rejection slip. But by then, I had written more stories, and they, too, were in the mail, soon to appear on editors' desks around the country.

The rejection slips came in, often flooding my mailbox. But I wrote, and I sent my best work along to a long list of publishing houses. Although more rejection slips arrived with each mail, I never felt rejected. My routine was set, and it didn't change: I taught by day and wrote by night. Each evening found me hunched over the typewriter creating characters, settings, and plots. Most weekends I walked on the beach with a dream in my head and a notebook in my back pocket. From those dreams and notes I wrote story after story.

Four years passed. Dozens of book manuscripts had been written, sent, and rejected. Then the day came when one of those "rejection" envelopes turned out to contain not a rejection but an acceptance. "Dear Mr. Roy . . . We are happy to tell you that we would love to publish your book. . ." Those seventeen words changed my life. I was no longer a schoolteacher who tried to write. I was going to be a published author!

Today, with more than 50 children's books behind me, I can think of no other occupation that would make me as happy. As a writer, I get to do all the things I love most: speak to kids, invent stories, travel, and of course, read. My A to Z Mysteries series sends me to classrooms where I listen to and learn so much from the students. I receive letters from young readers across the globe, and I answer every letter. Many of the letters contain suggestions for new plots, titles, characters. One girl asked if I would use her dog in one of my mysteries. What a great idea, I thought, and invented a canine character for an upcoming book.

Children ask about my writing, but they also want to know about my personal life. "Where do you live?" "Do you have any pets?" "What's your favorite food, color, author, TV show?" I'm happy to tell kids about my life as a writer as well as my life as a person. I live in an old farmhouse in Connecticut. My property consists of three acres of large trees, a barn, and a wonderful chicken coop. Recently, I brought a few chickens to live there, and they have become pets. Like E. B. White (my favorite author!) I love the sound and smell and warmth of animals. But since I travel a lot, I can't fill my barn with critters.

"Where do you get your ideas?" is a question that teachers ask often. "Everywhere," I respond, then I give specifics. Ideas come from reading newspapers and books. Ideas come from TV shows and movies and the news on the radio. I bring ideas back from trips, from church, from the grocery store. The letters I receive from kids are often filled with ideas.

The idea for my first published book evolved from a stroll on the beach. While walking, I came upon an overturned horseshoe crab. With legs frantically waving, the crab tried unsuccessfully to flip over onto its stomach. I uprighted the crab, then watched it scurry into the water and swim away. From that little episode came A Thousand Pails of Water, my picture book about a boy and a beached whale. Not really much of a leap--I saved a crab, the boy in my book saved a whale.

I smile when kids ask me if I write every hour of every day. Some writers do, I suppose, but I find that I need a balance. I spend a goodly number of hours each week actually writing but leave plenty of time for playing with friends, going to the movies and on vacations, and taking naps with my cat. I also work on my house, which seems to require a lot of attention.

In many ways, however, I am "writing" even when doing chores. As I paint my barn, I am thinking of story plots. As I weed my garden, I daydream about new characters. When I nap, I dream about the next mystery in my series . . . and the next.

It's a cycle, really. As a child, I loved to read. Reading led me to writing as a career. I share my books--and thus my love for reading and writing--with children. From them I receive warm feelings and some great ideas.

Now when I write my books, one of my hopes is that I can give back at least a part of the joy I have received.

Happy reading!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
I would give this book ten stars because of how the author describes the people. What happens is the pack of kids named Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose visit a cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana, called Old Forest Trail. They stayed in a hotel with Ruth Rose's Grandmother. Meanwhile, they see their friend, Jack. So, they go on a camping trip mainly to see alligator nests. Then, two graves in the cemetery get robbed! Jack goes to kneel on red clay. Then at night, the shining light of someone's flashlight awakens Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose. They go and explore. They see someone who is tall, bright haired, and is scraping red dirt off his pants. Dink suspects it could be Jack.

In the morning they see a trail of bare footprints; they follow this trail to meet a man named Byron. Byron was tall, bright haired, but most importantly, he has a shovel with red dirt! They immediately report to Ruth Rose's grandmother about the incident. So they go talk to Byron, he admitted he was taking his owl named Bill hunting. He found the thief's wallet. He pulled out the ID and showed it to them. Guess who the thief was! They called the NOPD and showed them the evidence.

Anyone who reads this book and others in the series should get an A in Reading for enjoying some of the most mysterious books in history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lyle L. Perez on March 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
I know this is a children's mystery book. But when I said I'll read any zombie book, I meant ANY zombie book. I figure when my two year old daughter grows up I could read this to her as a bed time story. I'll hold on to this book until then. For those of you who haven't heard of Ron Roy's A to Z Mysteries Series this book is #26.

Ruth Rose is visiting her grandmother, she lives in Louisiana. Her two friends Dink and Josh come along to visit. Ruth Rose, Dink and Josh are always getting into adventures. This book is no different. Jack, a friend of Ruth Rose's grandmother, takes the kids on a hiking trip. He is an active hiker and knows all the hiking routes. They all lead to a small village in the middle of nowhere. The day Jack takes the kids on a hike they come across a sign that reads "Beware of Zombies". Jack assures the kids there is nothing to worry about. The small village is big on Voodoo and they believe in zombies. Jack shrugs the sign off as a joke an outsider is playing on the villagers. Or is it?

A zombie with silver hair has been seen around the village late at night. Two graves have already been dug up in the cemetery. The villagers are scared and are thinking of leaving their homes. It's up to Ruth Rose, Dink and Josh to solve this zombie mystery. Is it all a joke? Could there truly be a silver haired zombie digging up graves? You'll have to read the book to find out.

I actually had fun reading this book. The reading level is ages 5 to 8 which made it a fast read. The kid inside of me loved it but the adult in me knew what was going on. It's not hard to figure out that there are no flesh eating zombies in the story. The only zombie related topic is that the villagers are big on Voodoo. If I was reading this book as a kid I would actually love it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Angela M. Isaacs on May 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found this story to be entertaining and enjoyable. I found myself anxious to find out what Ruth Rose, Dink, and Josh would find on their hike. Would they get to see a Zombie or a alligator? Would the village people leave after their cemetary graves were being robbed? I felt like I was with the children when they got up at midnight and followed the glow of a flash light. They were very brave when they watched someone or something come up out of the grave. I'm sure that any adventurous person would enjoy this mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrea VINE VOICE on March 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
There are 26 mystery books in this series, one for each letter of the alphabet. This series is for young people, but it's okay if you are not a young person. These books are too good and too fun to miss out on.

This book, "The Zombie Zone", needless to say, is the last book of the series --- but not last for me, though, because I still have books G-Y left.

Ruth Rose's grandmother takes a trip to Louisiana for a painting class, and invites Ruth Rose, Dink, and Josh to come along with her. While the grandmother is learning about painting, the 3 kids go on adventures in Louisiana; they learn about the native people there.

This book was especially interesting to me, as I love geography and culture. I love learning about how people live, etc. This book focused on some people who live out in the country, are self-sufficient, plant their own food, know what to pick for medicine, and one man even makes his own paint from things in nature. I find all this very interesting.

The zombie zone is indeed a graveyard. Weird things are going on. I cannot say what, as I don't want to ruin this very good book for you. The 3 kids camp out with the tour guide, and they get a fright or two! Will there be an explanation for what's going on?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
I liked when they said they were going to see an alligator nest and it was pretty funny that they never got to see an alligator nest until the end. And also, when they found the robber looking for his wallet, I really liked that. It was also pretty cool that a good guy who's not part of Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose, found a clue. And the wallet that the good guy found was the bad guy's wallet. And it was good that he got caught. And I also liked when Dink spotted that guy on the table when they were going for lunch near by them and Josh saw him. And also, I thought he was a bad guy but it was pretty weird that he wasn't the bad guy. A different guy who was walking to that place, he was the bad guy.
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