What a crazy couple weeks of spring we have had. So much sickness and completely missing school and Easter and friends and possibly spring too. But I’m thankful to have a constant pile of new books to look through. Last week I received this book from Disney-Hyperion in hopes that I could review it, and they also offered a really amazing giveaway to one of my readers. How could I turn that down? Thankfully, we liked the story. So let’s take a look at a fun, summery, ballerina beach book, with a crazy unique twist. Here is Vampirina at the Beach by Anne Marie Pace, picture by LeUyen Pham, 2017. (And stay tuned in the post for the fantastic giveaway!)

This book is the third picture book from these creators about Vampirina. I honestly cannot remember if I’ve read the other two about this little ballerina vampire, but I vaguely remember that I may have. For some reason, I keep confusing her with Zombelina by one of my favorite illustrators, Molly Idle. I know, vampires and zombies are two very different things. So, if you are not super familiar with Vampirina like I’m having trouble being, she is a cute little vampire who has learned ballet despite being a little vampire (in book 1), and she successfully hosted a sleepover (in book 2).

In this book, Vampirina is off to the beach with her family for a night of beach fun and a sweet new friendship. It is a unique twist on a beach picture book as it includes all the beach type stuff we usually read about (and do ourselves on trips), but it takes place with an odd assortment of beach-goers… at night… with some surprising results.

The text is written in a somewhat distanced tone, like a first-person narration without the pronouns, or even one of those old instructional videos on PBS or something. It makes for an interesting read as there are a lot of gaps for the visual reader to fill in about the story. I definitely caution to read slowly and give lots of space for studying the photos and answering questions about what is happening if you have a curious 3 year old like mine.

I myself have never been a big fan of monsters, vampires, or other creepy characters; but my girls love them – when they are cute and not-a-lot, but just-a-teensy-bit scary. This book delivers in that department. There are vampires, witches, mummies, pirates, ghosts, skeletons, werewolves, sea monsters, mermaids, and more. It is a lively, well… maybe deathly is a better descriptor, crew. But, the text doesn’t elude to the odd cast of characters at all. As far as the text is concerned, this is a completely normal beach trip – just at night.

I may not have actually cared much for this book myself had it not been illustrated by LeUyen Pham. I positively adore her illustrations in everything she has done. And Vampirina is no exception. The layouts are fantastic. The colors are vibrant. The characters are perfectly odd and adorable all at once. Her illustration decisions are brilliant, taking an instructional, very straight-forward text and turning it into a hilarious and completely surprising story about this motley crew. Pace and LeUyen have certainly cooked up a brilliantly unique book.

We’ll be enjoying this one a lot this summer, especially in preparation for our own beach trips as this will give a unique, and fun twist on our usual beach-prep reads. But I am also so excited to pass on not only this book, but all THREE Vampirina books to one lucky reader. Humongous thanks to Disney-Hyperion for my own copy and such an extravagant gift to my readers.

Giveaway! [closed]

Thanks to everyone who commented! Betsy was the randomly selected winner. Congrats!

One lucky winner will receive the things pictured above:

    • Vampirina Ballerina
    • Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover
    • Vampirina at the Beach
  • and a branded beach ball and tumbler!

So fun! To enter, comment below perhaps telling me your favorite beach activity or even your favorite odd, mythical character. Giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 11:59pm. I will choose one random winner Monday morning and their vampire beach partying can begin. Good luck and happy reading!