Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire by Tommy Donbavand
My apologies for my radio silence – blame the Dreaded Lurgy, which seems to to be making a habit of lurking round me recently. Stupid thing. Grrrr *shake fist*
Still, I have managed to get a couple of books reviewed, the first of which is this:
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Front cover designed by Lily Bernard
When Luke Watson and his parents are forcibly removed from their home by GHOUL (Government Housing of Unusual Lifeforms) and relocated to Scream Street, he vows to escape. Never mind that he’s transformed into a werewolf a few times, everyone on this street is very odd! There’s a family of Egyptian mummies living down the road, a trio of vampires next door, and the schoolteacher is called Dr Scully and appears to be rather skinny….. in fact, he’s nothing but bones! After pinching a the Tales of Scream Street from his suspicious landlord, Luke discovers that the six founders of Scream Street each left behind a relic, and only his finding all six of them will allow Luke and his family to go back to the usual world. Can his new friends Cleo Farr and Remus Negative help him?
This is an unusual one – a horror book for 5-8 year olds! It’s only very mild horror, with a bit of blood and little bit of violence but it’s mostly an action adventure story. This content does lend itself more to older 5-8 readers I think and could serve as a great way for 7 or 8 year old readers to start looking at slightly older books as a bit of a bridge. I really wouldn’t worry about the horror aspect of it putting anyone off because it essentially amounts up to a little bit of blood, a little bit of violence (but very mild) and the use of Mummies, Werewolves and Vampires as main characters. Other than that it’s all action!
It’s VERY fast-paced, so ideal for any flighty or fidgety readers and the chapters are short enough to drive the action and keep the reader engaged. This is the first in the series and it packs a lot in – there are at least four plot threads in this one book, although this could be because it’s the first in the series and it needs to set everything up for the rest of the books.
I love the little quirks of humour in it and there’s even some funnies aimed more at adults in there too – Remus Negative as a vampire? I actually snorted with laughter when I first read that, and although I’m not sure whether a 7 or 8 year old would quite get the joke I know Mum or Dad reading it at bedtime would get it! There’s loads of witty banter between the three friends and I love the wry little back stories to both Cleo and Remus; I especially love Remus’ twist. It does remind me a little of Monstrous Maud in a way, only with more quick quips between the three friends. The baddie is a good one too – just mysterious enough to intrigue and leave you guessing exactly WHY he doesn’t want anyone to read the Tales of Scream Street.
A nifty little read that would be a great way to get started on slightly older books or to introduce a reader to horror gently.
Tommy Donbavand is also one half of the sensational duo that has started up Start the Story, a creative writing magazine aimed at teachers to promote writing and give inspiration amongst all the stodge. Barry Hutchison and Tommy Donbavand know what they’re on about – between them they have some great events to their names, they’re hugely enthusiastic writers, and their stories rock (look out for a review of Hutchison’s The 13th Horseman soon) – I urge you to check out their website.