Bardhan-Quallen spins a yarn equally suitable for a campfire gathering or a fireplace cuddle.
The rhyming text’s ominous tone hooks readers right away: “On the farm, the critters knew / At night, while they were sleeping, / Past barn and pens, / Past lambs and hens, / a HAMPIRE went out creeping.” The animals at the farm know not to go out at night for fear of becoming the scary beast’s prey. But when Duck cannot sleep due to a rumble in his tummy, “[h]e sat up with a quack. / ‘It’s risky, yes, / But I confess— / I need a midnight snack.’ ” Duck plods to the kitchen just as the Hampire wakes up. What follows is a great chase captured moment by exciting moment in Fine's realistic depictions. Causing edge-of-the-seat anxiety and giddy giggles, the hilarious action scenes show Duck making off with his overflowing platter of sweets, while super-oversized Hampire follows close on his tail. Soon Red Chicken and Pony get caught up in the adventure. Fine expertly conveys the panic and terror in the poor animals’ faces. Screaming beaks gape wide, Pony frantically struggles to keep the barn door closed and Red folds wings in desperate prayer—all serve to convince readers that this is a most dire situation. But there's a surprise: Hampire proudly states that he’s “no barbarian / ...and when I dine, / I’m always vegetarian.”
Kids will feast on this deliciously scary tale over and over. (Picture book. 4-8)