Return of the Chocoholic Vampires (Zac Zoltan's Mad Monster Agency) by Knife and Packer
|Return of the Chocoholic Vampires (Zac Zoltan's Mad Monster Agency) by Knife and Packer|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: An enjoyable and light read for newly confident or reluctant readers. It's packed full of Beano-style silliness. If you're looking for something worthy, this isn't it. If you just want pure unadulterated fun, you'll lap it up. Knife and Packer were kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: April 2009|
|External links: Author's website|
To unsuspecting observers, they're just regular kids Josh and Spencer, but little do most people know that they're also Zac Zoltan and Dr Brains, sworn exterminators of Mad Monsters. They're poised to crush whatever peril threatens the town of Everyday. With the annual Chocolate Parade on the horizon, as luck would have it, the Chocoholic Vampires are on the rampage...
Older readers may know Knife (Duncan McCoshan) and (Jem) Packer from their hilarious cartoon It's Grim Up North London, from Private Eye. Return of the Chocoholic Vampires is the first in a new series for newly confident readers. It weaves an adventure-packed story with plenty of bold and fun illustrations. It's heavier on the illustrations than most books - some pages are almost like word-heavy comics. This makes it perfect for reluctant readers, or anyone just after a little light fun.
In terms of tone and style, you wouldn't go far wrong to think of Return of the Chocoholic Vampires as an expanded version of the Beano, with lots more text. Everything's all very silly, with a school bully writ large, lots of chocolate, zaniness, plans, schemes and japes. Kids'll lap it up. Parents'll roll their eyes and say "When I was your age, I'd read Don Quixote in the original Spanish", but secretly wish they could try out the chocolate recipe at the end. ("Take a large amount of chocolate, add chocolate, soak in chocolate sauce, cover with chocolate sprinkles, then drizzle in chocolate" - sounds perfect to me!)
It's mindless trash, but that's a good thing really. Everyone needs a bit of mindless trash in their lives. Not everything has to be worthy. Sometimes things can just be fun for the sake of being fun. If you want to be uptight about it, think of it as being better than a comic, and whilst you're consoling yourself with that, your kids will be happily reading away, having a great time.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
Shake Rattle and Hurl (Rotten School) by R L Stine is also a fun, silly read. The Day My Bum Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths is too, but you'll also get a million and one of the worst/best 'bum' puns you'll ever hear.
Knife and Packer were kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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