Dick and Jane and Vampires

Dick and Jane and Vampires

I recently discovered the fun little mashup book Dick and Jane and Vampires written by Laura Marchesani and illustrated by Tommy Hunt. I didn’t grow up with the Dick and Jane books, but I did learn to read with their close cousins, Janet and Mark. These books are pretty simple with text like “See Jane. See Jane go. See Jane go fast.” They helped me recognize words, but the plots weren’t exactly engaging. Dr. Seuss was much better! (For that matter, I’m still happy to revisit Green Eggs and Ham and Fox in Socks).

I had a lot of fun seeing a vampire tossed into the predictable world of Dick and Jane with some wild results, such as the milkman delivering a bottle of blood for the family and a vampire helping at the produce counter. I couldn’t help wondering if he stocked the garlic stand.

The simple pictures and text are anything but simplistic, allowing for a variety of interpretations from fun to more sinister. (What happened to dad after part one and where does mom go at the end of the book?)

Ultimately the book makes me think of a good Mad Magazine parody. It reminds me fondly of the original while also poking fun at it and making a little commentary of its own. I can’t say I’ve been very excited about the whole trend of mashup books, but this one looks like a good one for your little vampire.

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4 thoughts on “Dick and Jane and Vampires

  1. Mashup is what they call it? I call it an eyelash away from plaigiarism, in most cases. I do have fond memories of being all the way to the end of Dick and Jane while the class was still on page 4, but I wonder if contemporary readers will really get these references.

    • Hard to justify a cry of plagiarism when the copyright page seems to indicate all appropriate rights have been obtained and presumably money exchanged to use the original work. Admittedly, it might be easier to make that claim in the case of “out of copyright” works which have been subjected to the whole “mash up” thing like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I haven’t read it and have no opinion on that one.

      As for contemporary readers — I think all kids get subjected to the simplified readers and get the joke even if they aren’t familiar with the specifics. My daughter in high school particularly enjoyed D&J&V, even though she didn’t know “Dick and Jane” at all.

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