I’m a Zcary Vampire
Author: José Carlos Andrés
Ages: 4 – 8 years old
A little vampire has to scare somebody in order to pass his vampire test.
The basic premise of this book is simple: a little vampire has to scare somebody in order to pass his vampire test. If he doesn’t pass the test, he gets sent to Banana peeler school. It’s meant to be a light-hearted, dare-I-say, buddy comedy. Unfortunately, I don’t find much humor in it.
The little vampire starts by trying to scare a young girl. It doesn’t work, because the girl laughs at his size and at the way the vampire talks (a lisp is very, very heavily implied by the way the dialogue is written). After straight up laughing at him, the girl then teams up with the vampire to fool the test proctors into believing that she has actually been scared.
The book is billed as teaching how to overcome differences and encouraging teamwork. I have difficulty getting past the trivialization and mockery of the vampire, both by the author and the little girl character. Simply put, in addition to his diminutive size, the vampire character has a speech impediment, one that may even be common to children in the target age range (and if not that particular impediment, other speech impediments). At best inadvertently, the book sanctions the mockery as long as things turn out well in the end.
Children, unfortunately and generally, need no encouragement to be cruel. Although the book can be used as a teaching tool for what NOT to do in a situation (at least the initial part of the book), it’s best to avoid it all together. And yes, I do have a sense of humor. I just don’t think some things are funny. What do you think?
So, here’s the deal, I wrote the above review weeks before receiving the original version of the book, in Spanish. And, although I haven’t reconsidered my original review of the version in English, I have to say: THE VERSION IN SPANISH WORKS!
There is something lost in the translation. The Spanish version of the book is gentler, softer in tone and does establish a camaraderie that is missing in the English. Although it is difficult to quantify, the Spanish version does clearly lend itself to a reading that the girl and the Vampire are in cahoots and that the girl feels a genuine regard for the Vampire–something I believe is missing from the English translation. Although I cannot recommend the version in English, if you are able to read Spanish, then I do recommend you acquire that one!
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
Un Vampiro Peligrozo (Amazon Hardcover)
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
My thanks to NubeOcho for providing a Review Copy of this book. The views expressed herein are my own.
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