VAMPIRINA BALLERINA: Book Review and A Giveaway Contest

Gather ’round the bonfire, boys and girls! I’m dying to share with you a book I’ve just discovered! I just know you’ll love “Vampirina at the Beach,” the picture book that’s making a splash with picture book readers of all ages.

No surprise to their fans, Countess Anne Marie Pace and Mistress of the Night LeUyen Pham have teamed up for another monstrously good story about our favorite ballerina. You might remember that Vampirina made her book debut in VAMPIRINA BALLERINA and then returned to the page in VAMPIRINA HOSTS A SLEEPOVER. In her second encore, she demo-pliés to the beach for a nighttime frolic with an even larger cast of not-so-scary monsters.

As a tide pool lover, and pinniped fan, I love that she interacts with sea creatures in their natural habitats. She also spikes a beach volleyball, builds sand castles, and snorkels with a whole new cast of characters–navigating a whole new set of circumstances with aplomb.  Make sure the lifeguard can see you, she’s told, and wear sunblock to ward off the full moon’s reflection.

Vampirina takes center stage in this book, of course, as only a vampire ballerina can. But when she meets a “normal” kid about her age, he seems reluctant at first to join the fun. Little by little, he loses his shyness, and while they’re hanging ten…surprise! He sprouts pointy teeth and a bushy tail. Turns out, her new friend’s a werewolf, so he fits right in.

LeUyen Pham’s illustrations are remarkably creative, in that they reveal the wonders of the ocean in a charming new way. I appreciated also that she depicts monsters of all shapes and personalities, without ever venturing into the scary-creepy. Another fun surprise: A lovely spread unfolds like curtains in the middle of the book, revealing the hula dance contestants in all their glory.

I give this book five out of five sea stars! The story dances off the page, inspiring readers of all ages to celebrate their uniqueness and to use their talents to the fullest. I only review books that speak to my heart and/or strike my fancy, and VAMPIRINA AT THE BEACH did both.

The publisher (Disney-Hyperion) provided me a copy for review, and…they’re offering two additional copies for a prize giveaway contest! Also, one lucky winner will receive some Vampirina Swag,  thanks to the Countess, so that’s three prize winners altogether.  Hope you’ll encourage your friends to enter, too, because as Vampirina herself learns, “Whether or not you come out on top, finishing with grace is what makes you a real winner.”

The rules are simple: Leave a comment about the book, or make mention of these rescued harbor seal pups, who are being nurtured back to health at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.  All entries must be posted by May 17.

And the winners are…

Vampirina Ballerina swag: Shannon P.

VAMPIRINA AT THE BEACH:  Laura L. and Anna M. 

Once you’ve provided your mailing address, we’ll send your prizes right out!

Wheeeee, wasn’t that fun??

Finding and Sharing Light


This tiny sliver of sea glass was nestled into a tangle of debris that was tossed ashore during a recent storm. I would’ve walked past it, had it not winked up at me. Showy little thing, it reflected sunlight instead of sinking into the detritus.

I gently scooped it into a seashell, smoothing my fingers over its cool, smooth edges before tucking it into my pocket. In my mind’s eye, I’d already stamped and mailed it off to a special someone who needed a little pick-me-up. But in that moment, I matched my footprints with the incoming waves, filled with the quiet glow that comes of stretching my limbs and breathing deep the cool, fresh air.

Ours for savoring and sharing: these shimmering moments in time. Even in the dark, Nature sprinkles a special brand of magic: Who among us hasn’t been wowed by the silvery moon and starlight? No doubt, we’ll encounter obstacles. We’ll slip and sometimes fall. (Just last week, for instance, I tumbled backward over a seawall. But oh, it was worth it, because I spied an octopus in a shimmering tide pool, on the other side of that ridge.)

I’m thinking about that serendipitous walk again this morning, thinking also about that sea glass heart, a symbol of the affection that flows so easily between friends.  Too, I’m thinking how we can radiate that love into the wider world–candles glowing in our front windows, engaging smiles that light up a room. This, I believe, is the hard/heart work that we are called to do.