The Case of Vivian Vampire
By Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Amy Wummer
ISBN: 1-57565-127-0
Ages 5 – 8 years

Well, she is sort of weird -- that new girl who just moved in -- her hair all sticking out like bat wings. How can you ignore thatbat shirt she’s wearing and those bat stickers on her notebook and what about her bat earrings? Now isn’t that a “bat” much? Who can blame Molly for thinking Vivian is a vampire? Wouldn’t you?

Molly and her friends, Frank and Louis, turn into detectives and scientists all rolled into one as they try to solve the mystery of THE CASE OF VAMPIRE VIVIAN written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Amy Wummer. Ms. Knudsen mixes fact with fiction as she weaves an interesting tale about bats and vampires, while Ms. Wummer’s paintbrush teases the reader into thinking Vivian may actually be a vampire. I mean just look at Vivian’s hair. Looks like bats to me!

So of course, young readers, armed with Knudsen’s “bat” facts and Wummer’s perky illustrations, will eagerly join Molly and her friends to try to discover if Vivian is really a vampire. BUT . . . WAIT! If she’s a “real” vampire, then why is she awake during the day? And why did she eat garlic-mashed potatoes? Anyone knows vampires hate garlic. It’s a real mystery all right, but don’t let it drive you “batty”!

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“I don't think Vivian is really a vampire,” said Annie.

“There’s no such thing as a vampire,” said Philippe.

“Maybe she acted like that because she was so ‘into’ bats,” said Tina.

“Well, she wore bat clothes,” said Jaina. “And she had bat stickers on her notebooks and she had a bat knapsack.”

“She had bat earrings, too,” said Roberto.

“And Vivian’s hair looked like batwings,” said Philippe. “I think the illustrator was trying to make us believe that Vivian was a vampire.”

Jaina nodded. “Molly and the gang didn't really know if Vivian was a vampire or not,” she said, “So they had to find out. They had to find vampire facts.”

“One learning fact about bats is their wings can be about six feet long,” said Emma.

“And bats can fly as fast as 15 miles per hour,” said Jaina.

“But, Molly was scared of bats,” said Roberto.

“Before I read the book I was scared, too. I thought bats were really creepy,” said Jaina.

Jake shook his head. “I don't really think bats are creepy. If you look at them up close, they are kind of like a person. They have hands. They have a mouth and they have teeth.”

“ . . . Really sharp teeth,” said Roberto. “They're fangs!”

“ And they have a face and they have legs,” continued Jake.

“They are mammals . . . like us,” said Roberto.

“But, when you look at Vivian’s face, she sort of looks like a (vampire) bat,” said Emma.

“But, there are no vampires in the world,” said Jaina. “That is a superstition.”

“But imagine if there were!” said Jake.

“Superstition means that it is just made up! There is no such thing,” insisted Jaina.

“Vampire bats are only in Central and South America. They’re not anywhere around our place,” said Jaina.

“Vampire bats live in Mexico, too,” said Roberto. “Last year I visited Mexico, but I never actually got to see one.”

“That's a relief!” sighed Ethan. “If there was a kid that looked like Vivian in my class, I would think she looked very creepy.”

“Well, Thank goodness there are no vampires in our classroom,” said Jake.

Tina shook her head. “She’s just a normal kid . . . like all of us,” she said.


SCIENCE – BAT – and – GO – SEEK!

It’s a myth that bats are blind. They can see well enough. But since they are nocturnal animals and they spend most of their waking hours in the dark, bats rely on their heightened sense of hearing and their sense of echolocation to move about. Bats send out high-pitched sounds, which bounce off insects. This lets the bat know in which direction to fly in order to find its dinner . . . or dessert as the case may be. To demonstrate this concept, play . . .

BAT – and - Go – Seek!

Choose one child to be the bat and five children to be bugs. The bat stands in the front of the room with his or her eyes tightly shut, while the bugs tiptoe to various parts of the classroom. As you point to each bug, they emit a buzzing sound. The bat, with his or her eyes still closed, points in the direction of the sound. Children can take turns being the bat and the bugs.

This game develops hearing sensitivity. It’s also a check to see if any of your students may be having any hearing difficulty. A trip to the school nurse for a quick hearing test can either verify or allay your fears.


List the five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing on the board or chart paper. Have children suggest various ways they use each of their senses. Record their answers.


Sense of Sight . . . . .read a book . . . . gaze at the stars
Sense of Smell . . . . sniff a rose . . . . . some popcorn
Sense of Taste . . . . lick a lollipop . . . .sip a milkshake
Sense of Touch. . . . feel a bunny . . . . .hold hands
Sense of Hearing . . .hear a secret . . . .listen to birds sing

Hey wait! Don’t forget . . . Common Sense and . . . a Sense of Humor!

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)



SCREECH! A BOOK ABOUT BATS by Melvin & Gilda Berger
WHAT IS A BAT? by Bobby Kalman and Heather Levigne
BATS! STRANGE AND WONDERFUL by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Meryl Henderson
BAT IN THE DINING ROOM by Crescent Dragonwagon, illustrated by S. D. Schindler
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