Poster courtesy of our treasured Iphigene

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.

PictureBook Challenge Update: 12 of 120

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “Dear Vampa by Ross Collins

  1. What a great book for a middle grade class at Halloween. The illustrations are wonderful and as you said, Gorey-like, and it sounds like the language has just enough sophistication to fit the older elementary student. Thanks, Myra!


  2. Pingback: List of Circus, Carnivale, Paranormal Themed Books for All Ages «

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