Book Review: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series premiered in 1997 and has remained popular ever since. I came to it late and am still working my way through the DVD box set. It is my go to show when I need some light entertainment because watching a group of young people fighting the vampires, demons and forces of darkness that roam their neighbourhood gives me hope, even when it does get a bit silly. Our real world is full of forces of darkness in human form and maybe they too can be defeated by those brave enough to stand up to them.

While Buffy may remain popular with adults and young adults, the themes and depictions in the TV series may prove too scary and at times risqué for younger viewers. This picture book, then, provides an introduction to characters children may have heard of but not yet got to know.

In the story Buffy is eight years old and attending Sunnydale Elementary School, something purists may object to but let’s go with it anyway – continuity hasn’t always been adhered to within the wider Buffyverse. Giles is the school librarian. Willow and Xander are Buffy’s best friends.

Readers are introduced to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and told that before she knew she was the Chosen One of her generation, a slayer, Buffy was afraid of the dark.

At bedtime, after her mom turns out the light, young Buffy hears scratches and thumps coming from her closet. She decides to invite Willow and Xander over for a sleepover, but none of them are brave enough to open the closet door.

The next day they go to Giles for advice. He tells Buffy that she must appear brave even when she doesn’t feel it. She must face her fears.

The three friends, acting in character with the young adults developed in the TV series, enter the closet after dark. What they learn is that kindness can lead to extraordinary alliances that benefit all.

The pictures are clear and bright with just the necessary words to move the story along. The monsters introduced are recognisable so enjoyable for existing fans. I particularly liked the way pronunciation of certain names were explained.

This is a sweet and gently spooky story that was fun to read. It offers a fine introduction to Buffy for the next generation.

My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Quirk.

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