cover image Hampire!


Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illus. by Howard Fine. Harper, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-114239-0

As in James Howe's Bunnicula, the star of this vampire picture book is a vegetarian%E2%80%94but his fellow farm animals don't know that. They think that the Hampire is a skulking, giant hog vampire, and Fine (Piggie Pie!) includes plenty of ominous blue shadows, a terrified Guernica-like pony, and a closeup of the "red droplets" the Hampire leaves on the grass (the Hampire himself is an ominous delight, a massive, porcine, Lugosi-style predator). The sometimes scary illustrations are leavened by the slapstick that ensues when a duck decides he'll risk getting a midnight snack. The farm animals end up cornered, before realizing that the Hampire is more interested in the tray of sweets the duck has been carrying. Building suspense and a sense of nocturnal dread, Bardhan-Quallen's (The Hog Prince) rhymes are filled with puns (" %E2%80%98We're sitting ducks,' the duck announced"), and the antics of the frantic duck and the animals he rouses should have readers laughing. Younger readers, though, will likely need knowledge or explanation of the conventions of vampire lore to fully appreciate the joke. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (July)