When vampire bats go for the longest necks around, Giracula is the result.
When the poor giraffe awakens, he has fangs and a cloak, though the latter comes off in a collision with a drone (and is back in place again a page turn later). He lands right in front of a bakery, and a good thing this is, as this vampiric giraffe craves sweets instead of blood, for no articulated reason. “Never before had our / friend felt like this. / He’d go bonkers, BANANAS / without a treat fix!” Indeed, by the time the treats are gone, the shop is a mess, and his tummy is aching with all the sugar he’s consumed. The townspeople catch him on his second sweets raid, his mouth dripping cherry-pie filling, and they assume the worst, all save a dark-haired girl with brown skin who offers a deal: She’ll make him treats if he’ll stop stealing. But this is never depicted. Instead, Giracula is pictured in a full tuxedo against a castle backdrop, a light-skinned child offering him a chocolate bar while the text reads that the town’s had no more trouble since the monster left. Watkins’ rhymes can be quite rough (“clouds” and “sounds,” “manners” and “answers”), and the scansion occasionally falters. Tuchman’s cartoon illustrations are amusing enough, but they are not enough to draw readers back again.
A head-scratcher and series opener best left to the bats and other things that go bump in the night. (Picture book. 4-8)