There Goes the Neighborhood! Dear Vampa by Ross Collins
The Ruined Abbey
From: Bram Pire
66 Nostfer Avenue
SORRY FOR NOT WRITING FOR SO LONG, BUT WE'VE BEEN HAVING SOME TROUBLE WITH OUR NEW NEIGHBORS.
The new neighbors, the Wolfsons, do have some odd habits, Bram writes. They stay up ALL DAY, lock themselves in at night, and they actually take SUN BATHS! Then, when the Pires politely attend their housewarming party, the appealing blood-red beverages turn out only to be tomato juice. Bram and his sister try to blend in with the Wolfson's guests at their Halloween party, but when they arrive, dressed as a Yankee slugger and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, they find all the others costumed as ghosts, vampires, and werewolves. Not to mention, the Wolfson's pet barks at them constantly.
The final confrontation comes when the Pires transform themselves into bats and slip out of their tower for their evening flutter and the Wolfson kids shoot them down with slingshots.
Little Bram ends his letter sadly:
Mom doesn't think she'll ever be able to risk flying again. Dad says he has had enough. He used some very bad words.
As I write we are moving out. We're coming back to Transylvania to stay with you for a while. Mom asks if you can get the guest crypt ready for us.
Hope this finds you unwell. All my love to you and Vampma.
In Russ Collins' Dear Vampa (Katherine Tegen Books, 2009), the tale of these mismatched neighbors is told mostly through the clever illustrations which accompany the wry text. The vampire family is shown only in black and white, with small accents of red: little Bram writes by the light of fat red candles, guttering in pools of crimson all over his dimly lit desk; Bram's sister, costumed as Dorothy, wears ruby red slippers; and their pet monster looks like a bright red octopus gone terribly wrong. In contrast, the typically suburban Wolfsons, are shown in sunny pastels. The Pires, peeking from their black-curtained window, recoil in horror as the swim-suited Wolfsons blithely soak up some rays and cover their ears with bright red earmuffs as they try to sleep in their coffins while the Wolfsons frolic noisily in their sunny backyard.
But nothing is quite as it seems, for, as the Pires load their coffins into their moving van to head back to Transylvania by the light of a full moon, we see the Wolfsons, now transformed into a family of hairy werewolves, watching from their window and saying mournfully,
"It's so hard to find good neighbors!"