Be on the lookout for:
She has fangs… and she knows how to use them!
Written by Kelly Bennett
Illustrated by Paul Meisel
Candlewick (July 9, 2013)
Activity Kit: downloadable pdf
Bank Street College's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2014 list.
It happens overnight: little sister Tootie goes from cuddly, ga-ga-googoo, I-want-my-ba-ba baby... to vampire baby. Now she's sinking her pointy fangs into everything — furniture, toys, and especially her big brother (“Youch, Tootie! No bite!”). Mom insists that it's just a phase, but Tootie's brother knows better. Just look at her hairline! Or the fact that all her favorite foods are bloodred! With perfect comic timing, Kelly Bennett and Paul Meisel give a fresh slant to the new-baby story, proving that even monstrous little arrivals have a funny way of staking their siblings' affections.
“Casting Tootie as a potential vampire gives the well-worn new-baby theme a fresh, comic twist.” —from Kirkus Reviews
“Bennett’s humorous conversational text plays to realism while Meisel’s clean-lined mixed-media illustrations agreeably maintain the baby-as-vampire conceit.” —from The Horn Book Magazine
“Every baby goes through a biting phase and this silly book pokes fun at the stage . . . Plus the idea of a vampire baby is hilarious to my loving little fellas.”—from The Mama Report
"Move over Edward Cullen because this book has the cutest vampire around . . . The author did a hysterical joy and the illustrator deserves an A+ for bringing Tootie and the gang to life! —from The Feathered Quill Book Reviews
- The Horn Book "Horn BOO!" – Oct 7, 2013
- Huff Post Parents " The Best Kids' Halloween Books of 2013" by Devon Corneal, – Oct 1, 2013
- Feathered Quill Book Reviews "Seasonal Quill Book Reviews" by Amy Lignor, – Oct 16, 2013
- Good Reads With Ronna "Vampire Baby by Kelly Bennett & Giveaway" – Oct 15, 2013
- The CelebrityCafe.com "Halloween Children's Book Reviews" by D. Connolly – Oct 10, 2013
- GoodReads "Jennie Smith's Reviews" – Oct 7, 2013
"Kelly Bennett, Why Did You Do This to Me?"
An Interview with Vampire Baby's Brother
Here's what I want to know: Of all the baby sisters in the world, why did mine have to be a vampire baby? WHY? Tell the truth, Kelly Bennett aka Ms. Bigshot Author: are you vampire crazy? Or did you turn Tootie into a vampire baby just so you could cash in on the vampire craze?
KB: Of course! I totally wanted to cash in on the vampire craze! (And rake in Armored truck loads of cash)...Who wouldn't? BTW: I'm still waiting....
As for vampire crazy: Maybe I would be avampirepheliac. (I do love writing that word), if I could. But, there's one teeny problem with me going vampire: I have fainted at the sight of blood.
To be fair, it was my son Max's blood. He cut himself picking a piece of glass out of the grass. (Caution: don't play with glass.) Hey! At least I waited until the doctor was finished sewing the top of Max's thumb back in place before my eyes rolled. I remember saying, “I'm going….” The next thing I knew I was on the emergency room floor with my feet propped up on a chair and everyone staring down at me.
VBB: Now that's SCARY! So, where did you get the idea for Vampire Baby?
KB: The title came first. It sprang from a workshop at Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA). Cynthia Leitich Smith was one of our workshop leaders. Her Tantalize series was hot, so she was the VCFA resident expert on all things Vampire. Someone in the group suggested that certain topics were off limits in picture books. Cynthia and I jumped on that foolish notion.
VBB: How long did it take you to write the story?
KB: About two years and 12 revisions.
VBB: Two years! But it doesn't have very many words? You must be a really slow writer. Why so long?
KB: The title, Vampire Baby, floated around in my head like a guilty secret, stirring and swirling, popping up every so often to remind me it was there for quite a while. But that's all it was, a title. I didn't have a story to go with it.
VBB: What were you waiting for?
KB: YOU! I had to figure out who I was writing about, and who I was writing for. The answer to both was you: an eight-year-old boy with sibling trouble.
VBB: So you invented Tootie...
KB: Exactly! I was actually gathering material for a non-fiction book about teeth. A friend shared that unlike most babies, whose bottom teeth come in first, her canine teeth had come in first. That's when the story idea hit me.
VBB: Don't you mean “bit” me? Ha-ha! Canine means “dog.” Why couldn't Tootie have been a dog instead of a sister?
KB:You already have a dog. As I was saying... I actually wrote Vampire Baby with three people in mind: my Candlewick editor, Sarah, because she busted out laugh-snorting when she heard the title; my nephew, Devin; and his little sister, Grace, who has the best giggle.
VBB: How did you come up with the silly name, Tootie, anyway?
KB: It's from the movie Meet Me in St. Louis, starring Judy Garland. The littlest sister, played by Margaret O'Brien, was named Tootie. That name always made me laugh, and so it seemed perfect because you wouldn't expect a dangerous vampire baby to be named Tootie.
VBB: I still don't get it. Having a baby sister is tough enough. Why turn Tootie into a biter?
KB: Confession Time: some babies hit, some kick, some scream, some bite. To hear my family tell it, I did all of them! In my defense, they were all bigger and stronger and knew more words than I did. So I did what I had to do to get my point across. Biters are misunderstood: we're not bad, but we can be dangerous... And that's all the time we have. If I'm going to write more stories, I'd better get busy.
VBB: Wait! Just one more question, please? What's my name?
KB: That's for me to know and for you to find out in what I hope is the next adventure ofVampire Baby!
VBB: Thanks, Kelly... Uh oh! Here she comes...