On My Bookshelf…Little Dracula’s Christmas

And now for something completely different…

I hope you have been enjoying my Tuesday dose of visual books that I love and am inspired by. I have so far mainly shared my Folio Society editions of classic children’s fiction.

Now I know it’s not Christmas, and it’s not Halloween. But, in my heart, it always is a little bit. And when I was browsing my bookshelf for this week’s edition I saw this thin little book, 16 years old, hiding at the end, and thought ‘Why not?!’

One of the nicest things I have discovered doing this weekly series is the opportunity to research the books, authors and illustrators, and learn new things about them.

The Little Dracula book series debuted in 1986. It was penned by Hans Christian Andersen Medal winner 2004 and two-time Smarties Prize winner writer Martin Waddell and illustrated by Joseph Wright. The paperback stories, recommended for ages 4-8, rely heavily on Wright’s gory yet humorous illustrations. They detail Little Dracula’s spooky lifestyle which includes bowling with skulls and drinking a glass of blood before sleeping in his miniature coffin. Other morbid scenes include Mrs. Dracula emptying the brain from a decapitated head into a frying pan for breakfast and children playing tennis with rackets strung with cat guts. Dubbed “too silly to be truly spooky,” the series received praise by Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal particularly for its meticulous illustrations which were also regarded as “not for the squeamish. {1}

Looking back through this beloved book I am reminded why I was so obsessed with it, and why it helped nurture by love of drawing and illustration. I’m also a little surprised with what the illustrations get away with for such a young target audience, compared to what I would imagine would be censored/dumbed down if it was published today. Good ol’ 80s.

What I love the most I think is how rich the illustrations are: not a single opportunity has been missed to get some kind of either humour or gore-reference in there. Like the witch-fairy on top of the tree with a skull in her hand, or even the skull weather vane. Every page is jam packed with visual funnies. If you think platters full of human hearts is funny.

You can still buy this book. Beats Peppa Pig anyday I say.

2 thoughts on “On My Bookshelf…Little Dracula’s Christmas

  1. This book used to be in my Primary School Library, it has always stayed with me, I’ve been looking for it for years, all I had to go on is Christmas and Vampire. I had no idea what the cover looked like but the interior pages, with a little vampire opening his present and double page spread of the house are exactly how I remember them. I would never have identified this book without this Blog, Thank you!!!!

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