Margaret Wild is a deservedly admired and awarded Australian picture-book author, and her collaboration with significant new talent Andrew Yeo has produced the wonderful Vampyre. Ostensibly a tale about a young vampyre who is maturing and consequently inheriting the vampyre lifestyle, it is also a powerful allegory about a time of change in a person’s life—for many, the time between childhood and adulthood—when they must accept the life they’ve inherited, even if it is not true to them, or break away and embrace their unique identity. This is a sumptuous fable for the displaced or different, and for those who wish to protect both childhood and the natural world. With a deliberate tension between darkness and light, Yeo has created an original world that contrasts the vampyres’ home with the vulnerability of nature. The deer, which sense the changing state of the young vampyre, are alive with expectation. The silver type is a fitting tribute to the succinct, lyrical text. Vampyre is a seminal work—a picture book which could be read by mature primary-age children through to adults, and should be promoted to families, schools, collectors and art connoisseurs.
Joy Lawn is a reviewer and consultant at Coaldrake’s Bookshop in Brisbane. She is the author of Inside the Shortlist 2011, published by CBCA (Qld). This review first appeared in the August issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.