The Books

Vunce Upon a Time

by J. Otto Seibold
Illustrated by Siobhan Vivian

One Potato Review

Seibold and his regular collaborators (Vivian Walsh, Judy Sierra and, here, Siobhan Vivian) don’t always seem to know where they’re going when they set out, but they find their bearings eventually in stories of hard-working dogs, and over-the-hill wolves, and absent-minded porpoises, in fact it’s these characters who are often the destination: they’re charming because they’re so game. Here it’s a vegetarian vampire, who’s heard a rumor (from a skeleton) about a holiday where people give away candy, sets about stitching together the scariest costume he can imagine (a head of garlic), sees it devoured by a flock of zombie moths, and anyway travels to the festivities (as a bat) where he is relieved to run into a ghost, then alarmed to discover he’s wrong. And so on. Mummies are dancing in the margins here, and little lost dragons, and a stick of celery rising from the dead, plus – look! – is that the abominable snow monster? That there’s no reason for this to finish when it does (and no recommendation to speak of, beyond trusting your fellow homo sapien) is only a tribute this author’s, and this illustrator’s, endless abilities to entertain.