Vunce Upon a Time

( 5 )

Overview

Dagmar is not like other vampires. He's shy, he's afraid of humans, and . . . he's a vegetarian! But even more than he likes vegetables, Dagmar loves candy. And when he hears about all the treats he can get on Halloween, he knows he has to be brave and venture out into the human world. A wonderful new book from the author and illustrator of Olive, the Other Reindeer.

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Overview

Dagmar is not like other vampires. He's shy, he's afraid of humans, and . . . he's a vegetarian! But even more than he likes vegetables, Dagmar loves candy. And when he hears about all the treats he can get on Halloween, he knows he has to be brave and venture out into the human world. A wonderful new book from the author and illustrator of Olive, the Other Reindeer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Like Seibold\'s heroine in Olive, The Other Reindeer, [Dagmar] makes a promising holiday icon.

THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN\'S BOOKS
When the holiday calls for more giggles than shrieks, Seibold\'s world may be the place to be.

Publishers Weekly

Vegetarian vampire Dagmar, who prefers cherry juice to blood, "tend[s] to his moonlit vegetable patch" rather than prowl. Dagmar also adores candy, and when his crops grow slowly, he craves sugary snacks, prompting a skeleton in a pirate hat to recommend a certain human holiday involving scary costumes and free treats. Seibold (the Mr. Lunch books) and Vivian (A Little Friendly Advice) revisit time-tested Halloween formulas, freshening them with Seibold's quirky all-digital art, complementary palette and whimsically distorted shapes. Once the Halloween theme kicks in, however, they lose sight of Dagmar's vegetarianism and focus on sweets; likewise, except for a remark from Dagmar's mother, the title's stylized accent is absent from the wordy prose. Yet Dagmar himself is sympathetic, and he has a charming habit of turning into a bat when startled. Like Seibold's heroine in Olive, the Other Reindeer, he makes a promising holiday icon. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Anita Barnes Lowen
Dagmar was quite unlike other vampires. While others flew off to hunt, he tended his garden; oddly enough Dagmar was a vegetarian. Unfortunately for a hungry young vampire, his vegetables grew far more slowly than his appetite. This wasn't a problem as he usually had a stash of something he loved to eat even more than vegetables...candy! Except Dagmar was down to his last gummy worm. "I've run out of candy!" he moaned to a little skeleton who asked what was wrong. The skeleton had a wonderful suggestion. He explained that the very next night was Halloween—a holiday in which humans handed out candy for free. "But you have to wear a scary costume, I think." Poor Dagmar. He had never met a human before and just the idea gave him shivers. But when he thought of all the candy he could get, he knew he had to be brave. Cleverly Dagmar created the scariest costume a vampire could imagine...garlic! But, alas, on Halloween Eve when Dagmar went to his closet to get his costume, giant zombie moths fluttered out. They had eaten every bit of his masterpiece. What was Dagmar to do? Maybe he didn't need a costume at all. Maybe he could just be himself. A nice addition to a collection of Halloween books. Illustrated with unique quirky digital drawings. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Dagmar is a vegetarian vampire who lives in a creepy old castle with his parents and other ghoulish creatures. He has a gentle soul and a serious sweet tooth; he does not like blood. A castle mate tells him about a human holiday where candy is handed out for free and Dagmar embarks upon making a costume to transform himself into a scary being. His choices are hilarious-a puppy, a kitty, or a butterfly-terrifying if you're a vampire. Eventually he goes out as himself and meets a "ghost" who teaches him how to trick-or-treat. Even though the little girl frightens Dagmar, they make a connection that could change his view of humans forever. The computer illustrations are characteristic of Seibold's style-rounded figures with big eyes and lots of detail throughout the panels. The palette is bold, and the images are filled with kid-pleasing details. A fresh spin on Halloween.-Linda M. Kenton, Pickleweed Public Library, San Rafael, CA

Kirkus Reviews
Dagmar the vampire loves his veggies, but he also enjoys his secret stash of candy, given to him once a year by his undead friends. When he runs out, a little skeleton tells him about Halloween: "But you have to wear a scary costume, I think." His parents think he's too little to go trick-or-treating, but he demonstrates his pluck by cobbling together a garlic-bulb costume-but is left to his own vampiric devices when it's eaten by zombie moths. The humor inherent in the premise wears thin with each plot twist and will likely leave literal-minded young readers scratching their heads where a simpler approach would have been just right. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811862714
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 702,113
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

J.otto Seibold has illustrated, and in some cases also written, 15 books for children, including Olive, the Other Reindeer; Penguin Dreams; and the Mr. Lunch books. He lives in San Francisco.

Siobhan Vivian once raced electric go-karts with J.otto Seibold, and thankfully, neither of them was seriously injured. Her first novel for young adults came out in March 2008. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2008

    Formulaic- even for a kids book

    Vunce Upon A Time was very generic and lacked any real imagination or sparkle. I had loved the authors other book, Olive The Other Reindeer and I guess I had expected more. After I read it to my son, who usually asks for any book to be read again, immediately went and got a different book to read. If you are looking for a good Halloween book for your little one, I would recommend Room on the Broom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    Outstanding Halloween Picture Book!

    This is a colorful and upbeat picture book about a young vegetable-eating vampire who dares to go out on Halloween night and trick-or-treat with humans who he thinks are just monsters like him. The eye-popping illustrations are lush and leave no inch untouched by the bold, rich colors. This book will not be scary for most children as it is filled with good-hearted characters and has a message of accepting differences and making new friends. All in all, this will be a lovely addition to any picture book collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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