“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire • Middle-grade fiction

Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire
by Tommy Donbavand
Just out! August 2009 • Candlewick Press • Ages 8-10
Welcome to Scream Street – a hilarious middle-grade series that will spook kids silly.
Story:  When Luke Watson turns into a werewolf for the third time, the Government Housing of Unusual Lifeforms (G.H.O.U.L.) moves his family to Scream Street – a frightful community of vampires, zombies, witches, and sundry undead. Though Luke quickly makes friends, he vows to find a way to take his terrified parents home. The secret to opening the exit, he learns, is collecting six powerful relics the founding fathers left behind. But with a sinister landlord determined to thwart Luke at every turn, will he even get past the first hurdle alive?
Story behind the story:  To celebrate the publication of books five and six of the Scream Street series (Skull of the Skeleton and Claw of the Werewolf), author Tommy Donbavand is embarking on a virtual tour of the United States – Skyping with one school in each of the 50 states for free! Schools from Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin have already signed up. Each school will get a free 15-20 minute session in which he introduces the series and then students and teachers can ask him any questions they have about the series.

Tommy’s already been doing this successfully with schools in his home country of England. To see a video of his Skype session, visit his website. If you’d like him to Skype your class, email Tommy.

Praise for Scream Street:
“Exactly the sort of grisly, gross and hilarious stuff that kids will love!” – Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl series

“Lighting-paced, blood-curdling fun. I wish I’d been able to visit Scream Street as a kid!” – Darren Shan, author of Cirque Du Freak series

“Gags, gore, guffing goblins – Scream Street’s got the lot! Grab onto your gizzard, you’re in for a wild ride.” – Sam Enthoven, author of The Black Tattoo

Click here to download an Activity Kit, view an inside spread, or watch the Scream Street trailer. Visit www.screamstreet.com for even more fun stuff.

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.


Julie said...

LOVE this book! Luke and his family have been moved to Scream Street because he transformed into a werewolf in front of someone else. The Government Housing of Unusual Life-Forms (GHOUL) moved them the Scream Street. There Luke meets a vampire family, a mummy and other unlikely characters. He is determined to get his frightened parents back to their normal life. In order to do this he and his friends must obtain relics from the founders of Scream Street. Luke and his friends encounter nasty goblins that propel themselves by passing gas, a zombie that talks like a surfer dude, and must outwit the mean manager of Scream Street. My 3rd graders will LOVE this book. I know this series will become a favorite. I give this book 5 out of 5.

jlarkin said...

This was a quick and easy read! After Luke and his family were forcefully moved to Scream Street because he transformed into a werewolf, Luke meets new friends Resus and Cleo - a vampire (not!) and a mummy! Determined to return his "normal" parents back to reality, the three friends set out on a quest to find Skipstone's Tales of Scream Street, defeat the evil "landlord" Otto Sneer, and find the mysterious relics that hold the key to escaping Scream Street.

This was definitely a great book - although definitely geared toward the younger grades. Some of my lower level readers in 7th grade might pick this up and would definitely enjoy it. It's a fast-paced mystery with touches of humor and gore!

4 out of 5

Linda said...

My first reaction to the book was there was too much blood and gore in it. But as I continued to read the book, I was hooked. This is a book that will definitely appeal to young readers-eight to ten years old. Just when you think you have the plot solved, the author thows in a twist to the plot. You start trying to outwit the mean manager of Scream Street as you get involved in the book. Kids will love to begin collecting the cards inside. I also think that lower level readers in 6th and 7th grade would enjoy the book. I give it a 5 out of 5 for ghoulish delights.

dmuldawer said...

I have to preface this by saying that I am not a fan of horror fiction and came to this book as a reluctant reader, but ended up loving it.

The characters are zany and fun and their quest for magical objects takes the book into the fantasy genre.

True, there are vivid descriptions of blood and gore but nothing truly frightening happens and it always feels like the kids have things under control.

It is definitely written for younger readers, but I am curious if my lower readers in 6th grade will be drawn to this book. Since Goosebumps was a big hit, there's definitely a market for this kind of genre at the middle school level.

I would highly recommend purchasing this book and the rest in the series for your school library. Younger readers will gobble it up and reluctant older readers will be drawn to the blood and gore.

Picnic Basket Rating: 5

M. Battista said...

Werewolves, vampires and mummies! Oh my! The students here will love this book. It's got plenty of action, a little horror, plenty of humor and farting goblins! What's not to love? I found myself cheering Luke on, bit at the same time hoping he doesn't really leave Scream Street.

Picnic Rating: 3.5

M. Battista
Denair Elementary School
Denair, CA

sbcmom said...

I've been completely turned off of most vampire-type books, but Scream Street won me over. This story is fast paced, fun, and full of adventure. Luke and his new friends set off on a quest and reluctant readers especially will thoroughly enjoy this novel. It's the beginning of a series and includes both the first chapter of the next book and free collectors' cards. I teach 6th & 7th graders; this book will be perfect for my low and/or reluctant readers. 4 out of 5 stars.

Julia Pitau said...

For those students in 4th – 7th grade ready to take a walk on the scary side, this is the book for them. As I read through the storyline, I would start to become squeamish and feel it was a bit too much for this age. Suddenly, the storyline would make a quick turn and it felt appropriate for younger readers. One thing I did not like was the way the goblins were portrayed with the backward language (as in Star Wars and Lord of the Rings). Also, I became quickly bored with all the green gas “jokes” the goblins were producing, but this is something younger people enjoy. All in all, if someone is ready to start reading scarier stories, this is the one I would definitely recommend.

Picnic Rating: 3.5

Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

dmuldawer said...

Wanted to add that I gave the original book to one of my lower-reading sixth graders and she loved it and is begging for the rest of the series.

Rebecca said...

Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire introduces readers age 8-10 to traditional occult mythology. Luke and his parents are spirited away from their homes to a special community for burgeoning creatures of the night after Luke transforms into a werewolf and attacks a bully at school. Luke’s friends are Cleo, a mummy, and Resus a faux vampire. The zombie in residence at Scream Street speaks as though he was a surfer in a former life. Luke’s objective is to leave Scream Street because he things that his parents won’t be happy living with the undead.
Luke, Cleo, and Resus break into a mansion owned by Otto Sneer, Scream Street’s overseer, to steal a book that holds the secret to leaving Scream Street. They travel to an underground lair to gather one of six relics they must possess in order to meet Luke’s goal of taking his parents away from Scream Street. First they encounter goblins. They smell a stench and determine that it’s gas. Those goblins fart all over the place. Resus’s family’s blood-drinking appeals to readers who love the gross-out factor, and there’s enough of that to sustain interest in the book from the 8-10 age range.
The book is action-filled and transitions are abrupt. While children may not mind the lack of continuity, it is jarring for adult readers. Unfortunately Cleo, the only female character, is stuck in a gendered role as someone who needs rescuing, so readers won’t experience any enlightened characters in this book. In fact, the goblins speak colloquially in African American Vernacular English, reminiscent of local color dialect from the South.
No doubt readers will wish to follow Luke on his adventures to collect the remaining five relics and remove his parents from an unhappy life on Scream Street. I rated this book a 3.5 because of the abrupt transitions, the stereotypical gender roles depicted, and the troublesome dialect of the goblins. While I found a few problems with the book from an adult standpoint, I believe that children will easily overlook these flaws and find the story fascinating.

Anonymous said...

The monsters are the good guys. The werewolf is the main character and the mummy is the comic relief. Scream Street is a fun and quick read. It is a great book for reluctant readers with fast paced action and silly antics of both the good guys and the bad guys. The title and the cover will attract kids looking for scary books but nothing in the book will keep them awake at night.
Overall, I gave the book a 3.5 but if I were to rank the book for its appeal to reluctant readers I would give it a 5.

Barbara Leitschuh said...

I truly enjoyed this book. Great characters and a story line that kept me reading until the end. This series is a must for my library! I give this book 5 out of 5.

Anonymous said...

Loved the quick pace of this book. The plot was simple enough for young readers to grasp, yet also captivate them. The book is a perfect length and will appeal to not only reluctant readers, but any child in the 7-10 year old age range. By having several books in the series it encourages them to keep reading and gives them something to look forward to. The pictures, maps of the town, etc. is a unique way to help the readers visualize the scene and get to know the characters. Scream Street is definitely a treat! I give it 5 out of 5.

loonyhiker said...

This was a great book! I think older elementary students and even middle school students would enjoy this. This would be a great read aloud for a classroom especially with Halloween coming up! It was easy reading and high interest. Right from the beginning, it captures the readers interest. I would definitely give this book a 5.

D.A. Tyo said...

"Luke gazed into the zombie's milky eyes. The creature grinned at him, revealing a mouth crawling with worms and maggots. A cockroach scuttled out of a nostril and up into the zombie's left ear, dragging a trail of black snot behind it."

To say that middle school readers will like Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire may be a bit of an understatement. 'Fangs' to the Picnic Basket for this complimentary copy, I was able to roam Scream Street and meet vampires, zombies, werewolves, poltergeists, mummies, ghouls, goblins...

Tommy Donbavand's book is an action-packed, monster-filled romp that will leave middle school readers 'screaming' for the next book...Blood of the Witch and the next book...Heart of the Mummy and the next book...Flesh of the Zombie and the next book...Skull of the Skeleton and the next book...Claw of the Werewolf and the next book...Invasion of the Normals and the next book...Attack of the Trolls and...

I would give this book a Picnic Basket rating of 4. My sixth grade readers will devour this one. Now I'll have to be on the lookout for the other books in the series.

D.A. Tyo
Sixth Grade LA Teacher

Tommy Donbavand said...

Thanks to all for the wonderful comments on Fang of the Vampire - I'm delighted so many of you enjoyed it and think your pupils will find the series exciting. The books were certainly written with reluctant readers in mind.

I'm not sure I agree with the comment that Cleo is a stereotypical girl character. Yes, she requires saving once or twice in this book - but only because she's the first to launch herself into the action, often without considering the consequences. She has, after all, spent centuries buried in an Egyptian tomb and is now thrilled at the prospect of adventure! As the series progresses, her choices become a little more sensible, but she still remains what I always wanted her to be - a strong, action-hero mummy!

As for the goblins' language, I wanted to give them a unique speech pattern (as most of their conversations among themselves are conducted via gas!) I certainly did not attempt to make them sound like any specific ethnic group and, as a British writer, I wouldn't know what a Southern or African American vernacular even sounds like. They're just communicating in a way that's unfamiliar to them. Hope that helps to set your minds at rest.

Thanks again for your spooktacular comments! There will be 13 Scream Street books in all, so there's plenty more action and adventure to come!

Tommy Donbavand
author, Scream Street

ReadNTeacher said...

I have never been to Scream Street, but thanks to Tommy Donbavand, I am no longer a stranger to the excitement that goes on there. In the book Scream Street: Fan of the Vampire Luke Watson, a real life werewolf, is sent by the Government of Housing of Unusual Life forms (G.H.O.U.L.) to live on Scream Street. He is accompanied by his mortal parents who cannot seem to get used to their new bone chilling surroundings-especially the neighbors. After developing some interesting friendships, which include a mummy and an aspiring vampire, Luke and his entourage set out in search of the passage back to the real world. Along the way the group encounters danger, terror and of course, goblins, as they work together to fight the evil landlord and collecting the six relics needed to open the passage. This is a clever, entertaining read for elementary students, especially during Halloween. It is full of the kind of gross, yet lovable, characters and silly humor kids will find irresistible! 4 out of 5 stars!

Beth said...

Ghoulish gore and fart jokes? What more could a teacher ask? The story is fast paced, with a few quick turns that surprised even this adult reader! Since there are not that many pictures within the book, the reader is forced to use their imagination to create mental images. It would be a great novel to use in the classroom to share individual imagery, especially around Halloween. My puppy also really enjoyed the book and ate one of the chapters. :(
My puppy, Ella and I highly recommend Scream Street!
5 out of 5

Heather Hill said...

I was surprised by how quickly I got into this book. The premise is interesting and I'm sure it will unfold through the remainder of the series. The characters have their problems, as all of us do, but still create a bond of friendship that will see them through the dangers they encounter. I feel sorry for Luke's parents, but hope they will buck up in a later book. C'mon, the monsters don't seem all that scary if you give them a chance.

In all, I can't wait to read more of the series and think that my fourth and fifth graders will be hooked! I give this book a 5 out of 5!

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA

Aliya ANSAR said...
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