"Bram Stoker's Dracula: Don't Read it Alone," cautions the first section of Martin Jenkins' interesting encyclopedia of vampires and other bloodsucking creatures. A picture-strip horror story tells the tale of the evil Transylvanian count. The next section is less scary but very informative: discussing bats, certain birds, medicinal leeches and insects that feed on blood. In an historical section, Jenkins recounts monster myths dating back 5,000 years. People all over the world had grisly stories about creatures that attacked babies or rose from the grave to terrorize the living. The first official "vampire" came along in 1725, in the Serbian village of Kisilova. In a movie section, Jenkins selects and rates vampire television shows and movies, including the 1992 version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. The section is complete with trivia and biographies of Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, and Christopher Lee, who helped shape the vampire character. The fascinating book also includes biographies of horror film actresses Barbara Steele and Ingrid Pitt. A handy reference guide offers hints on how to recognize a vampire (for example, no reflection in mirror) and how to deter one (carry crucifixes and garlic).
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8--Dare to open this far-reaching, spiral-bound notebook and find out about more than just legendary undead bloodsuckers. The first section is a graphic-novel version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Although abbreviated, its plot is chillingly true to the original. Section two, "Animal Bloodsuckers," recounts the misguided and humorous travels, findings, and reports of "field agents" assigned to the "Vampire Investigation Project." Sharp, full-color close-up photographs of vampire bat teeth, the European medicinal leech, and a host of parasitic insects are accompanied by details of these animals' blood-drinking mechanisms and potential danger to humans. "A History of Bloodsucking" examines legendary creatures from Babylonian, Greek, Roman, and especially Eastern and Central European traditions. A special treat is the "Movie Mania" section. Synopses and ratings of 15 films and television series are generously peppered with dynamic stills. "Ready Reference" features a tongue-in-cheek "Vampire Hunter's Survival Guide," a short glossary, a species list of bloodsucking animals, and a well-designed index illustrated with line drawings. Jim Pipe's Dracula (Copper Beech, 1995) is equally colorful, though less comprehensive and more serious in tone. From its annotated and illustrated contents section to its index entry for "women, see female (bloodsuckers and vampires)," Jenkins's lively presentation is one to be pored over again and again.--Ann G. Brouse, Big Flats Branch Library, NY