Tony Abbott, Author . Hyperion/Volo $4.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-7868-1324-7

Kids can count on more chuckles than chills in this lighthearted spoof of Bram Stoker's timeless tale, which launches the Cracked Classics series. When Devin and Frankie (short for Francine) disrupt their sixth-grade English class, the teacher assigns to them an oral report on Dracula. Spunky narrator Devin complains that it is "full of pages from beginning to end. Not only that. There's printing on every single one of them!" Glancing at the title, he then announces, "That can't be right. Dracula is a movie," to which Frankie replies, "Some book. Doesn't even know what it is." Such buoyant banter keeps this caper cruising along at a quick clip as the two pals fail miserably at their report, and their teacher banishes them to the library. After the librarian gives them the task of taping together a dilapidated copy of Dracula, the pair accidentally sends the book through the library's "zapper gates" (security system), which catapults them to 1897 Transylvania. The classic tale's trappings assume amusing if expectedly inane dimensions through their eyes ("This must be the living tomb.... Sorry, I mean living room," says Frankie as the count gives them a house tour). A concluding note from the duo's librarian plugs the Stoker saga, which just may prompt youngsters to pick up the real thing. The series next skewers The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (in Mississippi River Blues, also May) and Around the World in Eighty Days (in What a Trip! scheduled for a July release). Ages 8-12. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/20/2002
Release date: 05/01/2002
Genre: Children's
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