The second in a series of books about the World’s Worst Vampire, this Fang-tastic story also works as a standalone. Recommended for readers aged 7+
As the title neatly suggests Vlad, the youngest member of the Impaler family, is the World’s Worst Vampire. He’s scared of the dark, doesn’t like drinking blood and would much prefer to attend human school than learn the evil arts of his vampire family. In fact, he’s a total disappointment to both his parents. So much so, that they threaten to send him to Transylvania unless he learns to fly in the dark, masters the ancient vampire skill of mind-control and successfully collects one hundred different types of live spider. Vlad doesn’t see how he’ll manage any of these things but his human best-friend, Minxie, is determined to help. They just need to make sure that Grandpa Gory doesn’t catch them while they try and practise.
This is the second in a series of books so I was pleased to find that you don’t need to have read the first to enjoy Fang-tastic Friends. While book one must’ve set up the context and introduced the characters (for example, I assume this is where Vlad first sneaked out to join human school and made friends with Minxie), it’s easy enough to gather everything you need to know.
Vlad is instantly appealing and most young readers will easily identify with his struggles to please his parents. They’ll also recognise the characters in school from the kind but rather forceful Minxie to the irritating and self-absorbed school bully, Boz. I can also imagine a lot of giggles in the scene where Boz throws a tadpole at Vlad and quickly finds his own hair swarming with slimy tadpoles.
Personally, however, I preferred the characters in the Impaler household. My favourite has to be Mulch who secretly provides Vlad with hot chocolate, pancakes, bacon and eggs and keeps his secret when he brings “curious creatures” (i.e. humans) home. Vlad’s pet bat, Flit, is also a fun – if very minor – character and I’m really hoping to read more about him in subsequent books.
While I’m always more drawn to the words than the pictures, Kathryn Durst’s black and white illustrations are the perfect complement to Anna Wilson’s writing. The characterisation in the expressions (including bat, Flit) is particularly impressive. My only gripe is that Vlad’s parents are almost too stereotypical and look almost exactly like the parents in the Addams Family.
If you enjoyed this, you should definitely check out book one – Vlad: The World’s Worst Vampire – or why not try one of Anna Wilson’s other books such at The Great Kitten Cake Off.