Hello, friends! Our spooky season book today is Vampenguin by Lucy Ruth Cummins, a wild tale of a hilarious zoo switcheroo.
The Dracula family – Mom, Dad, Junior and the baby – are all excited for their Saturday trip to the zoo! Once inside, they head straight to their usual first stop – the penguin house. While marveling at all the different species, baby Dracula and a young penguin notice a striking similarity in their looks, and unbeknownst to the rest of the vampire family, decide to switch places. The Draculas go about their day at the zoo, visiting the different animals (many of whom notice the switch, even as the penguin shushes them), while baby vampire enjoys his day as a penguin: eating fish, making penguin friends, and terrorizing naughty children who knock on the glass. At the end of the day, the two switch back, the Draculas none the wiser – until they check their souvenir photo!
A riotous romp. Cummins expertly pairs dry, ironic text with delightful visuals to create a story that is full of laughs from beginning to end. The switch that drives the humor is never acknowledged in the text, making it something for readers to spot and follow along in the illustrations on their own; JJ had an absolute blast pointing out all the shenanigans that the penguin and baby vampire were getting into without the narrator “noticing”. Jokes within the text have multigenerational appeal; parents will appreciate a spread where text describes “seeing” several animals while the illustrations reveal only tails poking out from obstructions. The length was fine for an elementary storytime, and that’s about the age that children will understand the humor as well. JJ and I both loved it, and it made for a perfectly spooky-themed (but not scary) read. This one is a winner, and we highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)