Vampire stories for children? Not what one would normally think of for a bedtime story.
Since retirement I have taken classes with the Society for Learning in Retirement. The group is about 15 years old and is what’s called Peer Learning. They offer 10 classes a term with a max of 20 people per class and run for 10 weeks. Terms are fall, winter and spring. Peer learning means that instead of one person lecturing in a class, each person in the group takes their turn presenting a topic in the subject area For example, in the Adventures in Children’s Lit class one of the first presentations was on Dr. Seusss. The other presentations dealt with many children’s books, most of which were unknown to me. . The class is wonderful as it gives my brain a rest for 2 hours a week where all I have to do is listen to a bunch of intelligent, witty people talking about kid’s books. It’s the most relaxing class I’ve ever taken; several are wonderful readers also. Two presentations are given each class; They run a half hour with discussion for the second part of the hour.
Last week Esme conducted the first presentation. The topic, Vampire Kid Books, surprised me and I thought it kind of zany. Now I’ve always had a yen for vampires, but vampires in Children’s Literature?
First she showed us – Dick and Jane and Vampires.
We all guffawed and said she must be joking. Zaniest thing I ever heard. .But the book really does exist It shows vampires not as the cold blooded creatures they are thought to be but as warm hearted play mates.
Then she mentioned Bunnicula about a vampire rabbit!
Really, it was too funny and almost zanier than Dick and Jane.
Later during the question and answer period, we decided that while vampirism does exist in nature this book’s goal was to misdirect Humans and a source of humour for vamps.
Next up was the My Sister the Vampire series
This one seemed more reasonable about twins separated at birth – one is s vampire, one is human. Their parents had a mixed marriage. Nice illustrations.
The last book she discussed was The Adventures of Crimson. The series is a sort of Madeline type story about a little girl who gets into all sorts of mischief in her boarding school
The premise is that even though vampire children do not mature, there is no reason for their schooling to cease at whatever grade level they died at. They will live forever, hopefully, and so they still must know their history, maths and reading. Crimson has two buddies, Ruby, a girl and Rednick, a boy. All three children appear to be about seven years old.
All the books in the series start with the same lines:
In an old house that was painted red,
lived twenty school children, newly dead.
This is Crimson
And here is a photo of the school
She and her two friends like to play baseball. Of course they only play at night. And like “normal” children, windows get busted and they get scolded and punished.
We all participated in a fascinating discussion for the second half hour.
In doing her research the presenter found this hilarious quote:
“One thing vampire children are taught is, never run with a wooden stake.”
— Jack Handey
The group laughed, though I noticed people looked around to see if others were laughing as well. Something in the air was making people feel uncomfortable.
We debated whether Children’s vampire books are a good way for vampire children to know they are not alone and that there are others like them and so they can relate
One reason vampire kid books are so prevalent is that if vamps do actually exist, this is a way to misdirect the world into their true nature so that they can live their lives (or deaths in this case).
Vamps prefer to stay hidden and misinformation to Humans is encouraged.
One member of the group mentioned that she believes the books are vetted through a board to ensure that not too much truth about vampires gets out. Vampires prefer to keep the traditional myths circuiting and kid lit does a good job of this. Misdirection is used to maintain their own safety.
Maybe you don’t believe vampires exist – but then why are there so many vampire children’s books? While dozens of vampire kid books are on the market, my favourite is The Adventures of Crimson.
Blogophilia 2.4 Topic: “Something in the Air“
(Hard, 2pts): use a word starting with “Z” three times (we take this to mean the same word three times – NOT three different “Z” words) zany zanier zaniest – same word different tenses
(Easy, 1pt): incorporate a type of currency yen
My guesses are highlighted too 🙂