Seeing as it is Hallowe’en (yes I always put the apostrophe in!), I thought I’d drop in a recent spooky title that’s currently doing the rounds. I’d heard a little about this title about a month ago and then stumbled across it in the local library. It seemed to fit the bill as a book that may appeal to some of the children I teach, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
Vlad is a vampire, albeit not a very good one. He can’t fly, can’t turn into a bat and hates the taste of blood. It seems that he is doomed to be a failure in his family’s eyes. All Vlad wants to do is be more like a human. Cue the inevitable adventure into the human world.
The book is billed as the first in a series of books and herein lies my problem with the book. It feels like a book designed to set up a series. The basic premise of the series is introduced. The character and his problems are introduced. Secondary characters are introduced. Everything is all set up for a whole host of human-vampire adventures. Unfortunately, the plot of the first title is rather lacking. Throughout the book, Vlad encounters humans for the first time and masters one of his vampire skills. There isn’t really enough meat on the bones for my liking.
Before I begin to sound too negative, there are many saving graces. Anna Wilson has played around with language to great effect. Vlad has ‘daymares’ and exclaims ‘my badness’, both of which brought a wry smile to my face. It is a very accessible book, so will appeal to less-confident readers or those taking their first steps into novels. Also, despite what I have said earlier, it is a great introduction to the series. I just wish that the second title was available at the same time. I’m confident that reading this and the second on the series together would be a much more rewarding experience.
Reading the book with my eyes, there was always that lingering feeling that there wasn’t much in this title. However, I do know that many children will enjoy this book. As such, I can see a series of Vlad books being something that I will recommend in the future. After all I’ve said, I’m looking forward to seeing if the next book in the series will propel the series forwards.
Age Recommendation: 7-9 years
Pages: 160 pages
Publisher: Stripes Publishing