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Children's Fiction Halloween


illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Initial publish date
Jul 2021
Halloween, Penguins, Monsters
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2021
    List Price
    $10.99 USD
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2021
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3
  • Reading age: 4 to 8


From the critically acclaimed author and illustrator of A Hungry Lion and Stumpkin comes a charming, wryly humorous story of adventure, mistaken identity, and a vampire family’s day at the zoo.

On a Saturday morning, baby Dracula visits the zoo with his family, where baby Penguin lives with hers. But these intrepid young adventurers are not content with staying in their proper places.

Instead, baby Dracula slips into the Penguin House to spend the day eating, swimming, and hanging around, while baby Penguin waddles into the stroller to explore the rest of the zoo. Dracula’s family doesn’t even notice the switch—will they bring the right baby home?

Observant and adventurous young readers will love this tale of the shenanigans that happen when parents’ backs are turned.

About the author

Lucy Ruth Cummins is an author, an illustrator, and art director of children’s books. She has been happily paired with Jean Reidy for Truman, which was named a New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019, and Sylvie. She also is the author-illustrator of A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of AnimalsStumpkin; and Vampenguin. When she was little, she had a pet spider in the shed where her dad kept the lawnmower. Every day little Lucy caught flies and placed them in her spider’s web at mealtimes. Lucy was born in Montreal, raised in upstate New York, and lives with her little family in Brooklyn, New York.

Lucy Ruth Cummins' profile page

Editorial Reviews

Cummins’s loose lines and fresh palette emphasize the classic cartoon–esque concept’s hilarity, and young readers will take great joy in noticing the entities hiding in plain sight—as well as the quiet case of mistaken identity.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "While at the penguin exhibit, the youngest member of the Dracula family discovers their resemblance to a similarly sized and colored emperor penguin. The two switch places, and readers are the only ones who catch this detail; the Draculas continue on their way through the zoo without ever noticing...little readers will love pointing out all of the things the text intentionally omits, like the animals that notice the penguin touring around in the Draculas’ stroller. Cummins uses classic vampire tropes in a way that lands right with the preschool crowd: They frown when they should be smiling and hang upside down, for example.

Impeccable integration of text and illustrations makes for a book readers can really sink their teeth into."

- Kirkus, starred review

* "A sweet tale of hidden high jinks that should have the whole family giggling."

School Library Journal, starred review

"The Dracula family heads out to a day at the busy zoo, baby Dracula firmly strapped into his stroller. Well, not too firmly, as it turns out, for as the distracted family enters the penguin house, the toddler slips out and trades places with a small penguin eager to explore the world outside its’s a terrifically funny conceit, and the humorous gouache and colored-pencil illustrations make the perfect cartoonish accompaniment. Kids will laugh at the adorable antics, and their adults will appreciate the subtle sarcasm. A marvelous day out for any reader."

- Booklist

A deadpan narrator outlines the story of the Dracula family’s Saturday trip to the zoo...the text hilariously drones on through the day’s itinerary as expressive cartoon art creates mischief throughout...a funny (and often startlingly relatable) outing.

Horn Book Magazine

Other titles by Lucy Ruth Cummins