I was able to find another picture book that fit into our paranormal theme this January-February (woohoo!). Ross Collins is a new author/illustrator to me. When I searched the web for resources about him, I discovered that the book I found, Dear Vampa, has actually been selected for the Society of Illustrator’s “The Original Art Exhibition” in 2009 (source here).
This book could also overlap with our letter-themed-books a year ago (Fats has done quite an awesome list here) since the entire book is a letter written by young Bram Pire from 66 Nostfer Avenue, Harkerville, Pennsylvania to his Vampa who currently resides in The Ruined Abbey, Lugosi Lane, Transylvania.
According to young Bram, they have been having a great deal of trouble with their new neighbors called the Wolfsons. Apart from staying up all day long and not having suitable drinks/beverage during their housewarming party, and inevitable trouble with pets and flying in the night skies: “They have a bizarre fondness for sunshine. Mom says it’s disgusting.”
The trouble has escalated to such an extent that the Pires have decided to sell their house (with tombs and rooms at that) and move back to Transylvania for the meanwhile. I was also tickled by the twist somewhere in the end – which might partially explain the ‘bad blood’ (pardon the pun) between the two families.
The greatest thing I loved about this book is the illustrations. I loved the entire gothic feel (quite reminiscent of the black and white drawings of Gorey) throughout – and the juxtaposition of black and white images with the bright sunshiny colored ones as the Wolfsons are depicted.
This picture book has also reminded me of one of my favorite YA series: Colin Thompsons’ The Floods which I reviewed here – with the Addams-family-esque vibe of the entire book. If you wish to know more about Ross Collins, click here to be taken to his website.
Dear Vampa by Ross Collins. Katherine Tegen Books: An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2009. Book borrowed from the community library. Book photos were taken by me.