Vunce Upon a Time

J. Otto Seibold, Author, Siobhan Vivian, Author, J. Otto Seibold, Illustrator . Chronicle $16.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8118-6271-4

Vegetarian vampire Dagmar, who prefers cherry juice to blood, “tend[s] to his moonlit vegetable patch” rather than prowl. Dagmar also adores candy, and when his crops grow slowly, he craves sugary snacks, prompting a skeleton in a pirate hat to recommend a certain human holiday involving scary costumes and free treats. Seibold (the Mr. Lunch books) and Vivian (A Little Friendly Advice ) revisit time-tested Halloween formulas, freshening them with Seibold's quirky all-digital art, complementary palette and whimsically distorted shapes. Once the Halloween theme kicks in, however, they lose sight of Dagmar's vegetarianism and focus on sweets; likewise, except for a remark from Dagmar's mother, the title's stylized accent is absent from the wordy prose. Yet Dagmar himself is sympathetic, and he has a charming habit of turning into a bat when startled. Like Seibold's heroine in Olive, the Other Reindeer , he makes a promising holiday icon. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/08/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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