Lucy Rowland and Ben Mantle
Macmillan Children’s Books
Lucy Rowland’s way with rhyme is superb and here she introduces readers to the Draculas, a family of vampires – father, mother and child who live in a dark dusty residence in the park.
Unlike his parents Dracula Boy loves bright clothes – no black outfits for him – and he really doesn’t want to go around scaring the townsfolk. Indeed some of the children allow him to try on their colourful gear and they become his friends; so much so that he offers to accompany scared-of-the-dark Rose, on a night-time exploration.
The two enjoy flying through the night sky, watching fireflies and gazing at the moon but must this wonderful adventure be for one night only?
Happily both his caring parents and his new friends want to see Dracula Boy happy, so perhaps there is a way to bring a touch of rainbow magic into his life.
Ben Mantle’s spirited scenes, by turns mock scary and vibrant, are a perfect match for the jaunty rhyming narrative.
A warm and sparkling alternative to the usual spooky Halloween stories, this one will work at any time.
Moldilocks and the Three Scares
Lynne Marie and David Rodriguez Lorenzo
Let me introduce the Scares: there ‘s Papa Scare (bearing a striking resemblance to Frankenstein’s monster), Mama Scare (green skinned mummy/Bride of Frankenstein) and Baby Scare, a diminutive vampire.
As the story opens Papa is brewing up a large container of Alphabat Soup. “The recipe serves four. Just enough for one more,” he announces. Meanwhile Mama mixing potions in the lab, expresses a wish for an assistant and Baby is desirous of a playmate.
When Papa serves up the soup it’s too hot to eat straightaway, so he suggests a walk with their ghost dog Plasma.
Meanwhile, Moldilocks out sleepwalking is drawn to their residence by the smell of soup wafting in the air. In she goes and well, the rest is as you’d expect in this delicious fractured fairytale: Baby’s soup is gobbled up, his chair broken and his bed usurped.
Now here comes the twist: instead of being full on furious when they discover the intruder, the Scares, after Papa’s …
… eat without us”, welcome Moldilocks unreservedly.
Then in best spooky fairytale tradition the now enlarged family ‘lived hauntingly ever after.’
With plenty of puns to giggle over, an adoption/Halloween spin to the tale, and Lorenzo’s acrylic and colour pencil illustrations that are full of appropriately frightful details to ‘claw over’, this book is a fun read aloud for Halloween or as part of a classroom fairy tale theme.