________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 16 . . . .April 14, 2006


The Vampire’s Visit. (The Salt & Pepper Chronicles #1).

David A. Poulsen.
Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books, 2006.
163 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55263-721-2.

Subject Heading:
Vampires-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Marina Cohen.

***½ /4



I’m not what you would call athletic. I like to ride my horse in horse shows and gymkhanas. And I like to read. I don’t like to pitch, hit, shoot, punt, pass or jump. Especially jump. Which is why I didn’t like thinking about how I’d get from the tree to the balcony.

Hal made the jump easily. I hated him. I mean even more than usual. I didn’t want him to fall, but he could have at least made it look harder. Which might have scared Pepper off. And given me and out.

Didn’t happen. Pepper went next and although her flight was noisier than Hal’s, it was just as successful. Which meant that their two faces were over there, safely on the balcony, looking back at me and silently urging me to kill myself. Because I was pretty sure that’s what would happen once I left the yew tree and leaped across a space that might as well have been the Grand Canyon.

“Why don’t you two go in and check it out and I’ll stand guard out here in case somebody comes along,” I said in a loud stage whisper.

“That’s stupid, Chris.” Pepper made a face at me. “Who’s going to be coming along through the branches of a tree?”

“Oh, you’d be surprised how many English people spend their evenings climbing trees,” Hal said, sarcastically. “That’s how Tarzan got his start.”

“Come on,” Pepper waved me over.

I figured there was no point in delaying the thing any longer, although I would have liked to have written my will before I jumped. But there wasn’t time, so I counted to three, took a breath and jumped.

Afterward, Pepper said she really admired me for not screaming even once on my way to the ground.


When 12-year-old Christine Bellamy, a.k.a. Salt, is invited to spend summer vacation in England with her best friend, Pepper, she is thrilled. The only downside is that her 10-year-old brother, Hal, is included in the plans.

     Upon arriving at Mr. Peter Cubbington-Smith’s manor, the duo is surprised to find garlands of garlic hanging over the doors and windows. Then, one foggy night, Christine and Pepper are visited by Simon Chelling, a teenage vampire. Simon claims their host is helping a group of renegade vampires. He insists that the girls spy on Cubbington-Smith and report his movements. When they refuse to cooperate, Hal is abducted and the plot begins to twist and turn.

     In his novel, The Vampire's Visit, David Poulsen slips effortlessly inside 12-year-old Christine Bellamy to deliver this hilarious and suspenseful story through the character’s eyes. His First Person narrative is brimming with contemporary, witty exchanges and slap-stick humour while embroiling the reader in a gripping vampire mystery.

     Though, in the end, the plot-strings appear tied but loosely together, the reader is nevertheless satisfied and eager for another “Salt and Pepper Chronicle.”

Highly Recommended

Marina Cohen has a Master’s Degree in Literature from the University of Toronto and has been teaching in the York Region District School Board for 10 years.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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