When I was little, I loved The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone. It’s the Sesame Street book where an increasingly desperate Grover begs you not to turn the page because there’s a monster at the end of the book. Then, at the end, you find out that the real monster is Grover. I’ve loved monsters from a young age so I was delighted when I discovered Maury the Miserable Vampire, written by Jeff Roland and illustrated by Adamah VanArsdale.
Maury is a crabby vampire that lives alone with his best friend, a bat named Barry. Barry is Maury’s only friend. Maury would be happy to be left alone until the day that Barry goes missing.
Maury’s quest to find his best friend forces Maury from his castle. He’s forced to meet other monsters and goes on adventures to find Barry and learns that the outside world isn’t necessarily so bad.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t have any kids and I don’t really have any young children in my life. I have no clue if they’d like this. But I also know that my love of monsters started young and I was a misfit from a young age. Sometimes I wonder if a love of monsters and being different tends to go together. So I’d recommend this to kids that love monsters, but also the anxious and the lonely. There are some good lessons about taking risks, being open-hearted, and reaching out for help.
I’d put the reading level at the age when they’re too old for just picture books but not quite ready for chapter books. The illustrations are charming and complement the story well. I appreciate that Maury is cute-ugly and that his design is reminiscent of Nosferatu.
Basically, this book is adorable and I think parents will enjoy reading it to their children as much as their children will enjoy it.
This book did leave me with some questions. Maury is a vampire, so has he killed anyone and drank their blood? Why do the villagers like him so much? I can only assume that Maury dispatched a rival village that was giving them trouble and now they’re indebted to him and support his bloodlust.