Wednesday 31 October 2012

ReadItDaddy Halloween Horror Double Feature. Part 1: Dear Vampa by Ross Collins (Hodder Children's Books)

Welcome to the spookiest double feature in children's picture books, the ReadItDaddy Halloween Double Review. In part one we'll be looking at Ross Collins' superb vampish story "Dear Vampa" and in part two we'll also be looking at another Ross Collins book, The Elephantom.

So lets get jugular!

Dear Vampa sees a young boy writing to his dearly beloved Vampa (Granpa) in far off Transylvania. The poor lad is at his wits end after a new family move in next door to the Pire family, and disrupt their ordinary everyday nocturnal and peaceful lifestyle with loud raucous music, parties and terrible terrible drinks.

We readily identify with what it's like to live next door to the neighbours from hell (thankfully we managed to move, and our current neighbours are absolutely lovely!) so this tale touched a raw nerve, but was deliciously funny at the same time.

Charlotte wanted to know why the Pires were 'in black and white, while everyone else is in colour' which made me giggle. She's way too young to sit through Nosferatu (or for that matter, any other Vampire movie) but this book entertained her and appealed to her monster-loving side too.

There's a delicious twist at the end of this book which you might see coming as soon as the annoying family are introduced. But we'll leave it up to you to see if you can spot it and work it out. It is fantastic though. Ross Collins is definitely an author-illustrator we'll be keeping a very close (bloodshot) eye on.

Charlotte's best bit: Really really want to tell you what it is but it would spoil the 'twist' of the book. It involves her saying a particular character was her - but very rapidly changing her mind later on.

Daddy's favourite bit: Ross Collins' eye for all those lovely little horror in-jokes and nods to Bram Stoker's most beloved creation. Love it.