[Book Review] Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #1) by Debbie Dadey & Marcia Thornton Jones


There are some pretty weird grown-ups living in Bailey City.

Teachers never last in the Bailey school third grade. And when Ms. Jeepers takes over the class, the kids are sure she'll quit, just like all the rest. But this Transylvanian teacher has a strange way of getting what she wants. Now the kids are starting to wonder: Will they survive Mrs. Jeepers?

Three chapter book series stand out in my memories of childhood: A to Z Mysteries, in which three children solve mysteries in the fictional town of Green Lawn; Magic Tree House, in which two children travel through time—and to Camelot—in the titular tree house; and The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, in which four kids try to prove that the adults of their town are actually various mythological creatures.

Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots is the first book of the Bailey School Kids series and introduces the five main characters: Howie, Liza, Melody, and Eddie the class clown... and of course, Mrs. Jeepers, the aforementioned vampire in the polka-dotted dress.

Now, the entire Bailey School Kids series—more than fifty books total—runs on the same Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane premise. Never once is an adult confirmed to be supernatural... but they also never quite manage to clear their names. In this book, the main quartet and their class have managed to run off their third grade teacher, Mrs. Deedee... but her replacement, Mrs. Jeepers, isn't going to be cowed quite so easily. With her Transylvanian accent, her creepy old mansion, and her mysteriously hypnotic green brooch, she's clearly a vampire—and only Eddie is willing to push his luck with her.

The main plot of the book is two-fold; while the kids try to discover whether or not their teacher is really a bloodsucking fiend, Eddie's determined to keep her from earning the class's complete obedience. Unusually for the series—this is the only case of it, in fact—we get a flash-forward at the very end with a few paragraphs taking place at the end of the children's third grade year, and the kids reflect on having Mrs. Jeepers as a teacher.

All in all, I highly recommend the series. I won't quite call it a favorite of mine, but I was definitely a fan as a child and continue to be quite fond of it. It's fun and suspenseful—for a young child, at least—and maybe even a little scary. I'm honestly a bit disappointed that the series seems to have ended in 2006, but it had a great run while it lasted; I look forward to revisiting the rest of the series in 2014!

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