Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So the next day we went to school and asked our librarian, Giles, for help.
(In speech bubbles) “It’s pronounced Jiles.” (Willow) “Rhymes with Miles.” (Xander)
“How can I help you?” (Giles)
“There’s a monster in my closet.” (Buffy)
“And what’s the problem?” (Giles)
“The monster is the problem!” (Buffy)
The “Pop Classics” picture book series from Quirk Books introduces young readers to favourite films and television shows families love. Back to the Future, (Vol. 25, No. 5, October 5, 2018) E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, (Vol. XXIV, No. 18, January 12, 2017) The X Files: Earth Children Are Weird (Vol. XXIV, No. 9, November 3, 2017) and Home Alone (Vol. XXII, No. 25, March 4, 2016) are joined by the latest title, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Unlike the other “Pop Classics” picture books which retell the original film or television story in a child-friendly format, Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes a look backwards to discover what Buffy and her friends were like as scared eight-year-old children in Sunnyvale. This is an interesting departure and may not have the same fan appeal as the other “Pop Classics” titles.
Young readers can identify with Buffy’s fear of monsters in the closet and things that go bump in the night. When Buffy decides she needs to discover what is in her closet, she asks her friends Willow and Xander (characters from the original show) to sleep over. After some fun sleepover activities, it’s time to sleep. The closet noises begin, but all three children are too afraid to open the door. They decide to ask the school librarian, Giles, for help (another familiar character to longtime fans). He tells Buffy that she is not an ordinary child but a vampire slayer. However, that skill will require training once she is older. He explains that the first thing Buffy needs to do is to act bravely which will terrify the monster. At the next sleepover, the trio of friends open the closet and discover it is filled with demons, beasts and other monsters that Buffy will encounter later in Joss Whedon’s series. Buffy’s brave confrontation succeeds. The monsters are terrified of her and her friends. Showing kindness to these unexpected guests makes the rest of the slumber party fun for all - until Mom checks in on them.
Canadian illustrator Kim Smith’s full page colourful, animation-style illustrations pair with the simple text, often using speech bubbles, to express the range of emotions of the characters. The humour depicted in both the illustrations and the text helps to make the story funny rather than scary.
Whether parents and adult are fans of this pop culture favourite or not, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a delightful bedtime book to share with young children as a story about facing your fears.
Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.