Welcome to Paperback Throwback, a brand new feature here at Plucked from the Stacks. Each week, I’ll be highlighting a book from my ever-growing collection of older paperbacks, ‘90s and prior. Come check out everything from Zebra’s line of horror to Scholastic’s preteen Apple Paperbacks, and everything in between— you’ll know them by their stylishly cheesy covers, flashy plots, and cheap prices.
Join me on this stroll down Literary Memory Lane. Stops include Sweet Valley High, Fear Street, and anywhere else mass market paperbacks may be lurking.
Today’s selection is the first in a series of chapter books I loved as a kid.
Things are running as normal at Bailey Elementary School when the unruly third graders run off yet another teacher. However, something’s a little different about their new teacher. Mrs. Jeepers is from the Transylvanian Alps, wears a green amulet, sneezes at the smell of garlic, and just moved into the spookiest house in town. But surely vampires don’t wear polka dots … right?
Okay, this one is both funny and cute. What kid isn’t curious about who their teacher is outside of school? This just takes it to the next level as students launch a first-rate investigation into Mrs. Jeepers’s private life. It’s probably for the best the kids are so inquisitive— no one will embezzle lunch money at Bailey Elementary without Howie or Liza cracking the case.
What’s truly remarkable is that authors Dadey and Thornton Jones have no problem making their main characters unlikable, with Eddie being a downright bully. It’s something that doesn’t pop up in chapter books often, but it allows for some natural character growth as the series progresses.
Monster books were my favorite as a kid, and finding this one at my local Little Free Library was a little like greeting an old friend. A striking, off-kilter friend who may or may not be a vampire.
Title: Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots
Series: The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids #1
Authors: Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
Publication Date: 1991
Classification: Chapter Book, Fantasy