Sunday, June 05, 2005


Little Vampire Goes to School

Little Vampire Goes to School
by Joann Sfar

I've read pretty much all of the graphic novels that can be found at the library here. Or at least in the young adult/adult section. What haven't I read? The stuff in the kids section. Recently I went down the basement of the library to try and find some graphic novels that were designated as being for kids (Astroboy is one that can be found there that I'd read before).
The result was this book, which was left lying around my living room for about a week, during which time at least two other people read it. One of them exclaiming that it couldn't possibly be for kids because of all the horrible horribleness that was in it. However, I think that it is the horrible horribleness that makes this comic ideal for kids (though I really enjoyed it too).
It's the story of Little Vampire, who's a little vampire. He lives in a big old mansion full of zombies and monsters and ghosts and other things. Little Vampire is lonely though, there aren't any other children "his own age" around for him to play with (despite the fact that, as Little Vampire's talking monster dog Phantomat points out, vampires don't have ages).
For whatever reason Little Vampire knows what a school is and that kids go to them, so he begs his mom (a ghost) to go to school. Unfortunately upon reaching school Little Vampire discovers that nobody is there because it's the middle of the night!
The monsters and ghosts and everyone soon help Little Vampire have a school of his own, but it's not long before he meets a human boy called Michael. The Captain of the Dead (a ghost pirate who is Little Vampire's father) isn't particularly pleased with this and summons Michael to the mansion to punish him.
The art in the comic is nicely done. The backgrounds are done in a monochromatic style that sort of reminds me of Edward Gorey (maybe), while the rest of the art is sort of cartoony, but consistent and good. I like Sfar's designs for the monsters and the Captain of the Dead.
The story is told in a really nice style, it's funny and charming and everything you want from a kids book. Is it too scary or horrible for kids? No, I don't think so. I think that kids would love the sort of gross things, like using blood for ink, that happen, while the mentions of killing and torture are just that, mentions. The worst thing that happens in the comic is that several of the characters get quite muddy. While the comic might scare a child briefly, it's no worse then any other book aimed at kids. Now I want to read the other Little Vampire book, Little Vampire Does Kung Fu!


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