Vampires of Blinsh

Abrams. Sept. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419746819.
Gr 2-4–Disingenuously promoting the message that vampires aren’t really so bad, this visit to Blinsh, Pinksylvania (village motto: “I’ll bring the donuts”) profiles both day and night life in a small town where roughly equal numbers of undead and living cohabit in (supposed) amity. Along with meeting several local residents—notably not-yet-dead Jonas Papooshnik who, in Renier’s populous town scenes, bears a remarkable resemblance to the author—readers are invited to sample some of the creatively flavored donuts for which the town is renowned (boiled turnip and sauerkraut, anyone?), to participate in the Halloween festivities. These are, unsurprisingly, an annual highlight, and readers even take day (i.e., night) trips to the more bustling burgs of Blorsh and Farshningle. The illustrations open with a detailed aerial map of the town, then go on to depict citizens of diverse garb and skin color flitting about, engaged in familiar nightly activities in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. Sharper viewers noticing that the expressions on many faces are often angry, dismayed, or fearful may find the narrative’s bubbly tone rather suspect…but will likely be up for repeat visits despite the jocund valediction: “Hey, take your teeth off my neck!”
VERDICT Younger readers, undead or otherwise, with a taste for armchair travel will definitely bite.

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