FICTION

Giracula

Persnickety. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781943978458.
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PreS-Gr 2–Giracula is a portmanteau that is so fun to say aloud, it’s almost worth purchasing the book for the title alone. When a giraffe is bitten by a vampire bat, he wakes up with fangs, a cloak, and a curious craving for the red stuff—cherry pie. Watkins tells Giracula’s story in rhyming text, a ballad giving the origin story of this mythical giraffe/vampire hybrid. Some of the rhymes are a stretch, like “disheartened” with “ice cream carton.” The rhythm is relatively consistent, but there are a few clunkers that trip up the tongue. The banana-yellow character of Giracula has an appealing look. Bold lines, pointy ears, and googily eyes make for a lovable cartoon creature who craves sweets instead of blood. Tuchman’s people are less inspired, although he does depict a diverse range of human characters. Background compositions are scattershot, lacking the cohesive vision of the title character. Some are detailed while others are composed of only a solid color. Odd little details, like a lion operating a remote-controlled drone, add whimsical charm, but objects and environments often look different from one page to the next, leaving the fanged hero without a solid sense of place. It’s also unclear how he can go out in the sun, and why he craves sugar instead of blood.
VERDICT Rough around the edges, but possibly appealing to fans of giraffes, vampires, or protagonists with a sweet tooth.

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