22 September, 2010
Review: Dick and Jane and Vampires by Laura Marchesani and Tommy Hunt
It seems that it has.
When I saw this at my local pusher of all things printed, I thought perhaps I'd gotten punchy after hours of birthday shopping for a tween. No, it was really there. Dick. And Jane. And Vampires.
Make it stop.
To give the credit where it is due, this is a brilliant adaptation. I've taught multiple children to read with Dick and Jane. (Although I myself was reared with Mark and Laura. Either they were less expensive or the early steps Dick and Jane made into integration so disturbed my parents that Mark and Laura were pressed into action.) This is a seamless addition to the series. Tommy Hunt has the iconic illustration style spot on. His vampire is slightly off what a true period vampire would be, but close enough that he fits in. Considering he's a vampire. Laura Marchesani hasn't taken Dick and Jane too far from an early reader's comfort zone, making this one of the rare Children's Book For Adults that still serves as a child's primer. Oh! Oh! A Bat! isn't far from See the boat! See the red boat!. If you're the sort of parent inclined to do so, you could teach your child to read with this book. Should you? Well, there are any number of things people will do with their children that I'd rather they didn't, but in a world with Sweet Farts or Walter the Farting Dog; Banned From the Beach I think that Dick and Jane and Vampires is acceptable fare.
Not that you were asking me. We both know you already bought this for the Vampire obsessed young parent in your social circle. I know you're not laughing with them. I'm not either. It's ok. If you really want to score points you'll team it with a vintage edition of Fun With John and Jean. (Those were the special versions of Dick and Jane made for the Catholic schools. Jean spends some quality time contemplating the Virgin Mother instead of the toy boats.) Dick and Jane don't want to judge you, they just want to play.