The original "Dick and Jane" series dates to the 1930s, when educators Zerna Sharp and William S. Gray were looking for a way to help young children develop their reading skills. Now Laura Marchesani and illustrator Tommy Hunt have teamed to continue the pair's adventures, featuring a smiling bloodsucker who just wants to make friends and encounters the children in all kinds of daffy situations.
Hunt's art captures the style of the original series illustrations dead-on (or is that undead-on?), while Marchesani's sentences, stripped to basic subject/predicate, are sometimes a little unexpectedly chilling: "No, Sally! Do not go outside. There is something outside." But don't worry — the story never turns deadly. Why not? Because the vampire gets a girlfriend! And you know what having an immortal ladylove means: "Vampire is happy. Happy, happy, happy!"
"Any time you are able to engage a child with a book, you are doing your job as a publisher … parent, teacher, babysitter," explained Francesco Sedita, Grosset & Dunlap's publisher. He said that one of his editors stood up during a brainstorming session and "simply said the words 'Dick and Jane and Vampires.' The room was silent. It was just such a smart, organic, wonderful idea. And we moved on it quickly."
Collectors of vampire memorabilia need a copy of this book: It deserves a place in their collections next to that box of Count Chocula cereal and the puppet of "Sesame Street's" Count Von Count. A copy of this book should also go into a time capsule: It's a good way to show future generations what was going on in American pop culture circa 2010. And at least a few parents with small children will have fun with this book as bedtime reading without worrying about causing bad dreams. In fact, I can think of at least one child who would probably have this book on her nightstand: Renesmee Cullen, daughter of "Twilight's" Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.