A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids can learn what a vegetarian is.
Sometimes we get scared of things we imagine are scarier than they really are. The barnyard animals are terrified of the Hampire (a pig in what looks like a Dracula cloak), because they assume he wants to eat them, but it turns out he's a friendly vegetarian who likes jelly donuts. They all become friends in the end.
Positive Role Models
Duck is brave -- and hungry -- so he leaves the barn to get a midnight snack even though he knows it's risky with the Hampire possibly lurking outside. Duck's friends Chicken and Pony come to his rescue and hide with him so he'll feel safe.
Violence & Scariness
The lead-up to the animals' face-to-face encounter with the Hampire is effectively suspenseful, but comic elements mixed in with the dread and tension mitigate any real sense of anxiety. The Hampire does knock down the door to the shed where the animals are hiding.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this lighthearted tale of suspense, told in verse, plays off kids' natural fear of vampires and anything spooky after dark. But the climactic twist is funny and reassuring. Knowing what a vegetarian is will help kids get the joke.
Is It Any Good?
This delightful story in verse is effectively suspenseful but not truly scary. The rhymes are fresh and clever and move the action along, making it a perfect read-aloud book. The evocative illustrations are a great combination of dread and excitement, comedy and camaraderie. Pictures of Duck fleeing from the farmer's kitchen across the barnyard, through the chicken coop, and atop Pony to the shed while carrying a platter full of teetering stacks of donuts keep things exciting but light in tone.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.