I think I was in the third grade the first time I read this book. In fact, I’m almost positive I was because that was the year that The Lost Boys came out, and I developed my first vampire obsession. Of course, being in the third grade, I wasn’t yet allowed to check books out of the library that would’ve matched thematically with The Lost Boys, so I made do with what I could find, giving my librarian the elementary school version of the stink eye the entire time.
Enter My Friend the Vampire, first published auf Deutsch as Der Kleine Vampir in 1979. That’s this book. I’m not entirely sure why the first US edition had a different name than all the others, and right now I’m too lazy to go digging through the internet to find out.
Anyway. I read the first book and then the next 3 or 4, then lamented the fact that there didn’t appear to be anymore books about human boy Tony and his vampire friends Rudolph and Anna. A few years ago, I decided to go looking for these books, thinking my oldest son would be into them, only to discover that they were out of print and people on the internet want to charge ridiculous amounts of money for them.
I sighed with sadness. Not just because I wasn’t willing to spend upwards of 100$ on a book for my kids, but because I learned that there were MANY MORE BOOKS that just hadn’t ever made it over to the US. They were translated into English and sold in the UK, but just never made it over here.
AND THEN, late last year, I decided to go looking for them AGAIN when I was writing my own letter to Santa.
When I was approved, there may have been (okay, there totally was) a squeal of joy.
I kind of wanted to put off reading it, though…because what if it wasn’t as great as I remembered it being? It’d been more than 25 years since the first time I read it, and I’m definitely not the same reader I was then.
I was worried for nothing.
Not only is the story of how Tony meets Rudolph (and his sister Anna, who hasn’t got her proper teeth yet, so can only drink milk) just as charming as I remember it being, but I’d dare to say it’s even better than I had built it up to be in my mind.
Some things feel dated, but I think that might be part of its charm. There’s no internet for Tony to go looking up information about vampires, he and his family (and eventually his vampire friends) sit around playing board games together, there’s still a late night scary movie on every weekend…it’s just a lot of fun.
If you are interested in picking up The Little Vampire (for yourself or a younger reader you may know), head over to Open Road for links to booksellers that have the ebook. It’s currently $5 or less at most vendors, which is a pretty darn good deal.
I have my fingers crossed that eventually the rest of the books will be re-released and make their way onto my reader. Thanks again to Open Road Media for the eGalley and to Emily in the Children’s Department for answering my questions about the possibility of more releases.