Nine-year-old Jonathan is convinced that sleeping during the day and waking at night is what every kid does—especially if your parents work at a blood bank all night. But when he breaks his parents’ rules and sneaks outside during the daytime, he meets Tobi, a neighborhood girl who fills him in on the truth about telephones, TV, and school. Shocked at his discovery, Jonathan confronts his parents, who tell him the truth about their nocturnal life.
Determined to fit into the daytime world, he convinces his parents to let him go to school and make friends. But it isn’t easy being the new kid—especially when your parents are vampires whose supplies from the blood bank are getting low. Maybe inviting his friends over wasn’t such a good idea after all.
This ebook features an illustrated personal history of Ann M. Martin, including rare images from the author’s collection.
|Publisher:||Open Road Media|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
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|Age Range:||7 - 10 Years|
About the Author
Ann M. Martin grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. After attending Smith College, where she studied education and psychology, she became a teacher at a small elementary school in Connecticut. Martin also worked as an editor of children’s books before she began writing full time. Martin is best known for the Baby-Sitters Club series, which has sold over one hundred seventy million copies. Her novel A Corner of the Universe won a Newbery Honor in 2003. In 1990, she cofounded the Lisa Libraries, which donates new children’s books to organizations in underserved areas. Martin lives in upstate New York with her three cats.
Read an Excerpt
Ma and Pa Dracula
By Ann M. Martin
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1989 Ann M. Martin
All rights reserved.
THE RATTLY OLD CAR sped through the night. Jonathan Primave stared into darkness.
"Go to sleep, Jonathan," said Mr. Saginaw, Jonathan's tutor.
But Jonathan couldn't. No one else was asleep. Besides, he only got to ride in a car once or twice a year—whenever his family moved. Jonathan didn't want to miss a thing.
In the front seat, Mrs. Primave began to scream. "Vlad! Look out! Look out, Vlad! Look out, look out, look out!"
Mr. Primave hit the brakes.
EEEEEEEECH! The car skidded to a stop.
Mr. Primave turned to his wife. "What was it? What did you see?"
"I saw, um ... I—I saw ..."
"Dear, if you are going to screech every ten minutes, then perhaps you should drive," said Jonathan's father.
"No, no, no. That is quite all right. I have not driven in decades," replied Mrs. Primave. "I do not wish to start in the dark, while we are pulling the trailer. I will just help you."
Mr. Primave sighed. "Do not help me too much, though," he said.
Jonathan looked at his parents. He could barely see them. The car was stopped on an out-of-the-way country road. There were no streetlights or houselights—only the light from a round, full moon.
Although Ma and Pa were husband and wife—not related at all, of course—they looked remarkably alike. Both had black hair, although Pa's was short, and Ma's was so long she could coil it around and around on her head. Their teeth were white and straight, with two long pointy ones on the top, on either side. Their fingernails looked like claws and their ears were pointed. An interesting thing that Jonathan had noticed was that he and Mr. Saginaw did not have fangs or claws. Jonathan just supposed that parents did, and boys and tutors did not. Ma and Pa were very, very thin and their skin was icy-cold. (Jonathan and Mr. Saginaw were nicely rounded with pleasant, warm skin.)
Another interesting thing that Jonathan noticed was that in the evening, when his parents woke up, their dark eyes were lifeless—no sparkle—and their skin was deathly white. But by morning, when they returned from work and were ready to go to bed, their eyes were bright and their skin flushed red.
Oh, well, thought Jonathan. Some people never looked good first thing in the evening.
Sometimes Jonathan wondered how old Ma and Pa were.
He had asked them a number of times but had never gotten a straight answer. Once Ma had said, "As old as the hills." Once Pa had said, "Old enough." Once Ma had said, "Older than you." And once Pa had said, "Two hundred and twelve."
Jonathan jumped as Pa started the car with a jerk. It shook and rattled and coughed and sputtered. Jonathan thought that was how all cars sounded when they started up. That was because he had never known any other cars.
Once he'd read about a fancy, smooth-sounding car in a book, but that hardly counted. An author could write anything in a book. Jonathan's parents had lectured him about that lots of times. How often had Ma or Pa said to him, "Do not believe everything you read, Jonathan"?
They said it every time Jonathan asked a question like, "Ma, why is it that in all these books, the people are awake during the day—when it's light outside—and asleep during the night—when it's dark outside? That is how these people live, Ma. Are some people really like that?"
And Mrs. Primave had said, "Do not believe everything you read, Jonathan."
That had also been the Primaves's answer when Jonathan had said, "The boy in this book goes to a place called school," and when he'd said, "The girl in this book keeps a dog in her house," and again when he'd said, "These children leave their house and play outside."
But the night Jonathan said, "I read about a boy who watches something called TV," Ma and Pa sprang into action.
"Where did you get that book?" asked Ma. "You know TV is make-believe, do you not?"
"How much do you know about TV?" asked Pa. "Did it mention radio?"
Ma had elbowed Pa in the ribs then, and the Primaves had called in Mr. Saginaw.
"Jonathan read about TV," they'd said accusingly.
Poor Mr. Saginaw, Jonathan thought as the car screeched along. He had felt sorry for him. "I did not mean to read about it," Jonathan had apologized, "but it was right there. It was in that book about the chocolate factory."
"Ah ... harrumph." Mr. Saginaw had adjusted his wire-rimmed glasses. Nervously, he'd straightened his necktie and slicked his hair back. "That would have been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Mr. Roald Dahl," he had said, and harrumphed again.
Mr. Saginaw was the primmest, most proper person Jonathan knew. (Although he was the only person Jonathan knew, apart from Ma and Pa.) Mr. Saginaw cared deeply for Jonathan, but he had difficulty showing his feelings. Mostly he just harrumphed. He harrumphed when he was nervous or upset or pleased.
Mr. Saginaw had helped to raise Jonathan. He cooked all their meals and ate them alone with Jonathan. Ma and Pa never ate. Not at home, anyway. Jonathan supposed they ate at work. They left for work each evening, soon after Jonathan had woken up. At dawn, they returned, not long before it was time to go to bed. While they were away, Mr. Saginaw tutored Jonathan. This is what happened seven days a week, year round. It was the only life Jonathan had known.
Jonathan leaned back as the car whizzed through the night. He glanced at Mr. Saginaw, who was sitting next to him, falling asleep. Mr. Saginaw had taught Jonathan how to read. He was in charge of picking out his books. That was why, when Ma and Pa found out about the chocolate-factory book, they had been upset with Mr. Saginaw.
"Why did you select that book for Jonathan?" Mr. Primave had asked.
"Well, it seemed so utterly silly," said Mr. Saginaw. "It is the story of a youngster, Charlie Bucket, who wins a trip through a chocolate factory. I have made it clear to Jonathan that fiction is entirely made up. Nothing about it is true at all."
That was how Jonathan knew that authors could write whatever they felt like writing. It was also how he knew that there were no such things as school or TV or VCRs or friends or people who sleep at nighttime. Those things were as fictitious as witches and ghosts and vampires.
Actually, Jonathan didn't give it much thought. He knew what he knew. And what he knew was his life:
Every evening, Jonathan woke up when his alarm clock rang. (Pa always set Jonathan's alarm before the Primaves went to bed in the morning.) The clock would go off just as darkness was falling. Jonathan had never seen bright sunlight. He had never been outside of his house—except to move.
From what Jonathan could tell in the little he saw from his bedroom window each evening, he and Mr. Saginaw and his parents always lived far out in the country, usually in an old, isolated farmhouse.
And wherever they lived, their routine was the same. After Jonathan's alarm clock rang, he would get dressed and go downstairs for breakfast. On the way, he would pass Ma and Pa's bedroom. Their door would be open, the bed neatly made. No matter how fast Jonathan got dressed, his parents always beat him downstairs. And they always said that they were not going to eat breakfast, or that they were going to go out for breakfast. So Jonathan and Mr. Saginaw would eat together. Then Mr. Saginaw would tutor Jonathan.
Jonathan's life had been like this for nine years and three months. If it seemed odd, he didn't bother to wonder about it for long. It was just his life.
Then one evening—the evening before the car trip—Jonathan ran downstairs and found Ma and Pa and Mr. Saginaw seated around the table. Ma and Pa looked thinner and paler than usual. And Mr. Saginaw hadn't even started fixing breakfast.
Something's wrong, Jonathan thought. But all he said was, "Good evening."
"Good evening," replied Ma and Pa and Mr. Saginaw.
Then Ma said, "Jonathan, we have news for you."
Jonathan sank into his chair.
"It is time to move again," Ma went on.
"Really?" Jonathan replied. He had sort of liked the house they were living in.
"Yes," said Ma, "we will move tomorrow night. And now Pa and I must be on our way. We will have to get in a good night's work."
Jonathan didn't even bother to ask, as he occasionally did, "Where do you work?"
The vague answer was always the same: "At the blood bank."
"So pack up your things tonight," Pa told Jonathan. "Tomorrow night we move."
And now they were moving, whizzing through the countryside.
Next to Jonathan, Mr. Saginaw snored softly. He slept with his mouth open.
Pa sped along.
Ma leaned forward in her seat. She peered through the windshield. She checked the rearview mirror.
Jonathan daydreamed about Charlie Bucket's trip through the chocolate factory.
Suddenly Mrs. Primave sat bolt upright. She looked in the mirror again. Then she turned around and looked out the back of the car, trying to see around the little U-Haul van that was attached to the car. "Vlad! Vlad!" she cried. "Slow down! You must slow down!"
"What is it this time, dear?" asked Pa. "A mosquito?"
"No, the police!"
That was when Jonathan heard sirens.
"How fast are you traveling?" asked Ma.
Pa checked the speedometer. "Ninety-two miles an hour," he said proudly.
Jonathan was surprised. He didn't think the old car could go that fast.
"Slow down," said Ma again, but it was too late. As Jonathan gazed out the window, a police car pulled up next to him. The siren was deafening.
"Wha—?" said Mr. Saginaw, waking up.
"Pa is going to be arrested!" exclaimed Jonathan.
The Primaves's car slowed to a stop. Pa pulled it to the side of the road. The policeman parked in front of it. Then he got out of his car and walked slowly back to the Primaves.
Pa rolled his window down. "Good evening, sir," he said politely.
"Evening," replied the officer, resting his arms on Pa's window and leaning inside, looking friendly.
"Any idea how fast you were traveling?" he asked Pa.
"What's the big rush?"
"Why were you going ninety-two?"
"I am in a hurry. We must reach our new home by dawn."
"Before dawn," spoke up Ma.
The officer scratched his head. "Do you know what the speed limit is around here?" he asked.
Pa looked relieved. "Why, no, sir. I do not. I thought it might be about ninety, since we are out in the country and it is nighttime. So I apologize for those two extra miles an hour."
"You thought it might be ninety?!" exclaimed the officer. "Look here, Mr. ... Mr. ..."
"Primave. Vladimir Primave."
"Mr. Primave, there is no ninety-mile-an-hour speed limit anywhere in the United States. Furthermore, the speed limit doesn't depend on what time of day it is."
"Forgive me," said Pa, "we did not see any signs."
"When you don't see signs and you're out on these county highways, it's fifty-five. Got that? Now may I see your license and registration, please?"
Jonathan glanced at Mr. Saginaw. License? Registration? What were they? Did Pa have them?
But Mr. Saginaw did not look at Jonathan. He was sitting tensely, staring at Pa and the police officer. Occasionally, he looked over his shoulder at the U-Haul behind them.
Pa removed his wallet from his pocket. He took some papers out and handed them to the officer.
"Mm-hmm, mm-hmm," the officer said as he looked at them. Then he handed them back to Pa. "Well, everything seems to be in order. Except there's a typo on your license. Says you were born in 1444. That'd make you, oh, five or six hundred years old. Someone must have hit the four key instead of the nine key when they were working on your license." The officer laughed, but Pa just smiled nervously. "All right now. I'm going to have to ticket you," the policeman went on. "Be right back."
The officer left the Primaves and returned to his car. He sat behind the steering wheel with the door open and the light on. He was writing something. It took forever.
"There are just three more hours until sunrise," said Ma quietly.
"I know," Pa answered. "Do not worry. We have time. We will reach our house before the sun comes up."
After a long while, the officer returned. When he was finished giving Pa the ticket, he said, "What's in the U-Haul?"
Ma and Pa both jumped.
"Nothing," said Ma.
"Our belongings," said Pa.
"Oh, yes, nothing but our belongings," Ma corrected herself. "That is what I meant to say."
"Mind if I take a look?" asked the officer.
Ma and Pa and Mr. Saginaw froze.
What was going on? Jonathan wondered.
At that moment, a call came over the officer's car radio. It must have been an important one because he forgot about the U-Haul. Instead he called, "Pay your fine, Mr. Primave. Have your license checked—and stick to fifty-five miles per hour!" He jumped into his car and roared off.
"How come the police get to speed?" asked Jonathan.
But no one answered him. They were too busy breathing sighs of relief.
"We will just make it," said Pa as he pulled back onto the road. "At fifty-five miles an hour, we will just reach our house before sunrise. Mr. Saginaw, perhaps you will help us with the trailer when we arrive?"
"Of course," he replied.
Jonathan drifted off to sleep and slept soundly as the night flew past him.CHAPTER 2
JONATHAN PRIMAVE COULDN'T SLEEP in his new house. He tossed around in his bed. He turned his pillow over. He kicked off his covers and looked at his clock. One-fifteen in the afternoon. Jonathan didn't know why he wasn't tired. The move the night before—the packing and the unpacking, and then the trip through the night—had taken a long time and had been quite tiresome.
"This is ridiculous," Jonathan said out loud. "I could at least read. Or—or maybe I could look out the window."
Jonathan had been told a number of times, by Ma and Pa as well as by Mr. Saginaw, not to go looking out windows in the middle of the day. But he couldn't help it. He was bored. And he was tired of rules he didn't understand.
Jonathan scrambled out of bed. He pulled the curtains back and let the shade roll up. Brilliant sunshine nearly blinded him.
Jonathan gasped. Outside his window were a greenish-brown lawn and several large trees. (Elms, Jonathan knew, from a boring tree book Mr. Saginaw had once gotten for him.) Beyond the trees were fields, as far as Jonathan could see, all the way to the horizon.
What grows in those fields? Jonathan wondered.
Also at the horizon were two tiny white buildings—one to the left and one to the right. Houses?
At that moment, Jonathan made up his mind. He was going to go outside, even though it was against the rules. He got dressed and tiptoed out of his room. He passed the door to his parents' room, which was closed, crept down a flight of stairs, and turned left into another hallway.
Very slowly and quietly, Jonathan unlocked the front door of his new house and stepped outside. He blinked and scrunched up his eyes. The sunshine seemed much brighter when he was actually standing in it than when he was just looking at it out his window.
"Ahhh," said Jonathan as he took in the summer-time smells: tired, half-dried leaves and grass, flower-scented air, and parched earth.
He stepped down three brick stairs and onto a brick walk. He didn't remember ever seeing one of his houses from the outside, so he backed up and took a good look at this one.
It rose up three stories and was topped by a widow's walk. And it had a cupola on the left that made the house look lopsided. Several of the white shutters hung crookedly. Ivy crawled up the brick walls, but only in patches, leaving empty spaces here and there.
Jonathan wondered how long the house had stood empty before he and his parents and Mr. Saginaw moved in. Who, he worried, would paint the peeling shutters or repair the broken railings of the widow's walk or replace the missing bricks in the steps?
Jonathan decided to look around his yard. He returned to the brick path, walked down it, and reached a corner of the house.
"Aughh!" he cried.
"Aughh!" cried another voice.
Jonathan's heart pounded in his chest. He didn't know this person he had just run into—and he didn't want to wake his parents or Mr. Saginaw. So he grabbed the boy and clapped his hand over his mouth. "SHHH!" he hissed.
"Mmphh, mmphh." The boy struggled out of Jonathan's grasp.
"SHHH!" Jonathan hissed once more, just to be on the safe side.
The boy jerked away and faced Jonathan angrily, but he didn't make a sound.
"Who are you?" Jonathan whispered.
"I'm Tobi Maxwell," replied the boy warily. "Who are you? And why are you whispering?"
"I am Jonathan Primave. I live here. And I am whispering because I do not want to wake my parents or Mr. Saginaw. I am not supposed to be outside. I am breaking the rules."
Tobi frowned. "You talk funny," he said. Then he added, "Let's go to the summerhouse. We won't have to be so quiet there." He pointed across the back lawn to a square, open structure.
Tobi headed for it, and Jonathan followed him. When they reached the summerhouse, they climbed a short flight of steps and sat on a railing that ran around the building. From there, Jonathan could see the back of his house and, in other directions, miles and miles of fields.
"By the way," said Tobi, "in case you're wondering, I'm a girl."
Excerpted from Ma and Pa Dracula by Ann M. Martin. Copyright © 1989 Ann M. Martin. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
3. Littleton Elementary School,
4. Ma and Pa Dracula,
5. What Is a Cafeteria?,
6. Don't Bite!,
7. The Scariest Night of the Year,
8. Silver and Garlic,
9. The Cupboard Is Bare,
10. Moving Again,
A Personal History by Ann M. Martin,