Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire?
A friendly-looking vampire takes a night-time stroll through the Fair City’s iconic spots, hopping on the ghost bus, battling the rain on O’Connell Bridge and partaking in Bewley’s finest buns. The nocturnal setting is refreshing and absolutely not scary, showing off well-known landmarks and buildings in a different light and essentially repainting Dublin in a new and exciting palette of purple, deep red, shocking pink, funky orange and, of course, smart black!
Yet the city is as recognisable as in broad-day light and Woods cleverly refrains from naming all the famous places our protagonist passes through, keeping the book focused on the game of spot-the-vampire.
The characters populating the pages are as diverse as they are stylish, with bright patterned outfits that mark them off the dark backgrounds, and each page is just busy enough (with animals, recurring people, strange creatures and interesting detail) that the search-and-find element can be extended well beyond the eponymous vampire.
The simple, short rhyming text is kept to the absolute minimum and works well overall (with the exception, perhaps, of the ‘swans’ in the Green who definitely don’t rhyme with the ‘pond’ they splash about in), but its best feature is the surprise inclusion of both an unnamed child character and the reader themselves at the end. Young listeners will love being involved in the text (‘Have you seen the Dublin Vampire?’) and feeling that bit special (‘Only you see the Dublin Vampire’).