by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (Author) Howard Fine (Illustrator)
On the farm, the critters knew,
At night while they were sleeping,
Past barn and pens,
Past lambs and hens,
A HAMPIRE went out creeping.
One dark night when Duck can't sleep, he ventures out in search of the perfect midnight snack. But when he runs into the dreaded Hampire, the chase is on, all across the farm! Will Duck--and his snacks--make it safely back to bed?
From author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrator Howard Fine comes this madcap barnyard adventure, perfect for reading aloud.
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As in James Howe's Bunnicula, the star of this vampire picture book is a vegetarian--but 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 (" 'We'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 4-8. (July)Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
K-Gr 3--While pandering a bit to our culture's obsession with vampires, this offering really hams it up. The farm animals sleep fitfully in the barn each night, petrified of the marauding Hampire. In the light of day, their fears are confirmed by gooey red droplets of evidence on the grass. The dramatic highlights and shadows of the painted illustrations increase the feeling of suspense when Duck decides one evening that he must have a midnight doughnut snack. His contorted facial expressions as he flees from the caped porker add a sense of urgency and believability. Readers will feel relief when they discover that the pig is not, in fact, trying to make a Duck-size snack, but desperate for a jelly doughnut. The menacing red evidence on the lawn isn't blood, but jelly filling. The creepy cadence of the rhyme scheme will take a few practice runs before sharing it in storytime. Fine is a master of painted porcine grins, assuring that fans of Margi Palatini's Piggie Pie! (Clarion, 1995) and Kelly DiPucchio's Bed Hogs (Hyperion, 2004) will not be disappointed. A deliciously macabre choice for a not-too-spooky classroom read-aloud.--Jenna Boles, Washington-Centerville Public Library, OHCopyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.