Yet another success for the vampire team, vampires are now situating themselves within the world of literature for children. Their first success: Dick and Jane and Vampires. I can’t help but get a kick out of that. “See Dick run. See Jane flirt with the vampire. See vampire eat Jane.” That’s not a real excerpt… that’s all me. See, I could definitely write children’s books! It’s also, yet another ‘mash-up’, –classic literature mixed with monsters, and honestly, I’m really getting sick of this ‘new’ genre, though this entry was pretty cute.
What interested me most about the book, was whether or not they were appropriate for just-learning-to-read age children, which could be anywhere from 3 to 5 five years old. And as much as I love horror, and as much as many other genre fans love it, it’s always a personal controversy, when you’re trying to figure out at what age your kids should be exposed to say… The Exorcist, and whether to go by the ratings. These days, almost all popular horror movies are PG-13, and some of them are really disturbing. So the addition of vampires to Dick and Jane might not be such a bad idea. One brave reviewer, from the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy, tested the book on his own kids:
“I tried the new book out on my five-year-old. My initial fear was that it might frighten her out of reading–and then I’d have some explaining to do to my wife. But the book isn’t at all scary–in fact, the vampires are depicted as helpful and fun, hanging out with the family, and playing jump rope with the kids.
“Dick and Jane and Vampires” manages to target the one group of readers that’s not sick of literary mashups–namely, people who have just learned to read. The book is being marketed to kids ages 5 and up and their ironically-nostalgic parents.
The book held my daughter’s interest in part because she recognized something was off. She knew it was a bit weird to have vampires hanging out with Dick and Jane and so she read the book through to the end in two sittings. Even my eight year old took a peek, before going back to his copy of the graphic novel “Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness.”
I’ve used the original “Dick and Jane” books to help my kids to read, but I’ve always found their sickly sweet vision of suburban-ish nuclear families to be sorely in need of an update. I wanted my kids to see communities that looked less like the 1930s and more like the 21st century.
But, failing that, a vampire will do.”
A safe horror introduction is hard to come by, though I think the reviewer’s example of Sesame Street meets Twilight is a little off, since anyone with kids pretty much knows… there is a vampire on Sesame Street! Duh, the Count! 1 vampire book for kids, ah-ah-ah!