*Little Vampire — Recommended

Little Vampire contains three stories for all ages: “Little Vampire Goes to School”, “Little Vampire Does Kung Fu”, and “Little Vampire and the Canine Defenders Club”. The first two were previously published individually in 2003, but the latter, the most heart-warming, is newly translated.

Little Vampire cover
Little Vampire
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They’re as straightforward as their titles suggest, with charm that permeates situations any kid can relate to. In the first, the Little Vampire wants to go to school, so his ghost and monster friends make it possible. He’s sad because there aren’t any other kids around, only an odd-looking demon dog named Phantomato (because he’s red).

Through an entertaining set of circumstances, Little Vampire makes a human friend, and the two pass notes, learn together, and play. Each twist is surprising but plausible… once you accept monster logic. There’s always another imaginative revelation on the next page, sometimes touching depth or even a message.

Joann Sfar’s environments are incredibly entertaining in the way he’s clearly thought about the many baroque details that enliven the setting. The lead characters are drawn simply, mainly circles, which keep them accessible. They look as though anyone could draw them, but few have Sfar’s deceptively invisible skill.

The second story tackles bullying. The answers aren’t the usual pathetic ones; instead, the kids fantasize about violence, as children do, for a permanent solution to the problem. The actual resolution is much more inspirational and weird, based on confidence-building and reached after consulting with a cat-rabbi who lives in a painting. Lots of monkeys are also involved.

The third story begins with dogs seeking sanctuary in the monsters’ haunted house. They’ve escaped from the secret lab of a bad guy who experiments on them. In trying to find them good homes, Little Vampire spends more time with Michael’s grandparents, who are nicely comforting.

Overall, the tales are simple but with bite underneath, which makes them wonderful to share among different generations. This book is recommended, especially for fans of Scary Godmother. For additional vampire stories by Sfar aimed at an older audience, check out Vampire Loves. Preview pages are available at the publisher’s website. Greg McElhatton covers some of the series’ American publishing history in his review. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)

4 Responses to “*Little Vampire — Recommended”

  1. Book Calendar Says:

    I rather like Joann Sfar. I recently read Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat which was more adult and was much more serious. I think I may try this.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I’m looking forward to trying that one myself. I’m impressed by how easily (apparently) Sfar moves among audiences and subject matter.

  3. Vampire Month for First Second » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] publisher has two graphic novels featuring the creatures coming out this month: Joann Sfar’s Little Vampire and Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria, and Warren Pleece. They’re very different in […]

  4. Good Comics for Kids » Linkfest: Reviews a go go Says:

    […] At Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson gives two thumbs up to Little Vampires. […]




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