As the saying goes, we all get by with a little help from our friends. For some of us, we may not realize just how important our friends truly are in our day to day lives. In Maury the Miserable Vampire, written by Jeff Roland and illustrated by Adamah VanArsdale, this concept is explored through the eyes of an unlikely character amidst a spooky backdrop.

Maury the vampire lives by himself in a cold, dark castle, away from any and all interaction with others – especially the cheerful ones. In other words, Maury isn’t what you would call a people person. His only friend in the entire world is a bat named Barry, who helps Maury around the castle with cleaning and other various errands. It’s well stated that Barry does this out of the goodness of his heart, and because he genuinely wants Maury to be happy – in whatever way that means to him.

When Maury wakes up one morning to find Barry absent, he immediately knows something is amiss. In order to find his missing friend, Maury must step out of his comfort zone and face his fears and discomfort head-on and leave the safety of his castle. 

Right off the bat (pun intended), things don’t go so well for Maury, as he’s tasked with his most loathed activity – talking to other people. From there, Maury sets off on an epic quest to solve the mystery of Barry’s whereabouts, taking him far away from all that he knows. Along the way, he’ll meet a cast of friendly characters who just may be able to prove to Maury that maybe people aren’t so bad after all. He also has the opportunity to learn about other cultures, broadening the scope of his once very small world.

Maury the Miserable Vampire is a well-crafted blend of charm and wit that parents and children alike can enjoy together, while also providing an opportunity to teach an important lesson on friendship. Maury has an actual character arc, and we see him grow and learn, which is sometimes difficult to conceptualize in a condensed children’s book. 

VanArsdale’s illustrations are sweetly appealing in a way that adds character to each page without being too busy. Roland’s writing flows perfectly along with the art to make for an effortless read, adding touches of nuance to the backgrounds that allows the reader to take their time instead of rushing through and not appreciating the book as a whole. 

Maury the Miserable Vampire is as engaging as it is enlightening, and is sure to become a regular fixture for bedtime reading, not just this Halloween season, but all year long.

Maury the Miserable Vampire is available this month from all major retailers in paperback, hardback, and ebook formats.


9.5 Bats out of 10

Maury the Miserable Vampire
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Length: 74 pages
Written By:
Jeff Roland
Illustrations By:
Adamah VanArsdale



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