A smile arrived in the mail: Dracula, the most recent board book in Jennifer Adams’s beautifully produced series, an unexpected delivery from publisher Gibbs Smith. This book joins other classics in Adams’s BabyLit series such as Alice in Wonderland and Jane Eyre which I reviewed here. Bram Stoker’s original horror classic would not appear to lend itself to distillation for children but this is a counting book and there are always things to count in a vampire’s castle, as any Sesame Street graduate will tell you. In Jennifer Adams’s Dracula, the foundational elements of the story, represented by its characters and props, are grouped from one to 10 and there is no hint of the original plot in sight (in case you were worried).
In keeping with the atmosphere of the original novel (and of vampire stories in general), Alison Oliver’s light-hearted, textured illustrations utilise a palette of purple, lavender, grey, black, and white. Echoes of Edward Gorey are felt in the touches of red that brighten each page.
The sweet vampire on the cover only makes a tiny appearance on one of the pages (I’m not telling which)—I wish I could have seen more of him. There is no vampire in this vampire book which is ultimately a good thing for your literate toddler. Have no fear adding this classic title to your child’s library.
I discovered that Gibbs Smith Press has also released a Dracula doll as well other merch that complements the BabyLit series. Read more about Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver here and here, respectively.