Reviews for Vunce upon a Time


Booklist Reviews 2008 November #2
Dagmar, a young vegetarian vampire, is distraught because his supplementary candy stash has dwindled. Enter "a little skeleton" (dressed like a pirate) who tells Dagmar about Halloween, costumes, and trick-or-treating. Dagmar creates a garlic costume, sure to frighten other vampires, but "giant zombie moths" eat it, and he is forced into the night as himself--which turns out to be just right. This is a vampire story with a very low fear threshold; Seibold includes spooky trappings but never anything actual frightening. The text is both wordy and a little stodgy, but the art contains plenty of Seibold s signature digital mayhem--vampires, bats, ghosts--rendered in slick computer graphics in a harvest-time palette. Preschoolers and primary-graders often say they want a scary story, but what they really want is something that looks scary. Those seeking such a tale will be satisfied with Dagmar s trick-or-treat adventure. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Young Dagmar is a vegetarian vampire with a sweet tooth. Hearing about the human tradition of handing out candy on Halloween, Dagmar visits the local village where he learns to trick-or-treat and makes a new friend. The story is weak but serves as a solid vehicle for Seibold's illustrations, which shine like glossy candy wrappers. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 July #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 September #2

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.)

[Page 50]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January

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

[Page 84]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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