Vampire School: Stage Fright
Written by Peter Bently
Illustrated by Chris Harrison
The kids from St. Orlok’s Elementary, a vampire school, return with more monster mayhem. This time, they’re preparing for the big phantomime of Snow Fright and the Seven Dwarfs. After bat lessons with the three S’s (swooping, swerving, and skulking), the vampire children prepare for their performance. Their teacher also explains the three C’s for hiding (columns, curtains, and corners) and the three D’s (dark, damp, and dingy). Gnashful is the angry dwarf. The others are Gappy, Snappy, Flappy, Creepy, Chompy, and Shock. Lucy is typecast as the Wicked Queen. When Bella loses her voice, Lee volunteers to let her lip synch to his voice. Bella and Lee are subsequently cast in the upcoming production of The Sound of Screaming, in which there are seven children and a nanny. It will be produced by local impresario Harker Winegum.
This third volume in the “Vampire School” series is a fun tale perfect for third graders and their literal senses of humor. The language is simple. The plays on words are a little complicated at times, but nothing a second grader won’t enjoy with a minimum of discussion. Most children that age can read this on their own. As with other volumes in the series, it contains a lot of action and onomatopoeia – pop, pop, pop. The humor and action should help increase attention and therefore comprehension and reading skills. The author allows the kids to solve their own problem – always a good idea for children’s books.
The illustrations had me laughing out loud on a few pages. The expressions on the vampire and monster faces are priceless. Lee complains to a werewolf about his itchy beard. Zombies, mummies, werewolves, and vampires fill the auditorium. Zombies appear to sleep through the show.