Dracula’s Cat (Monster Pets: Book 1)

Title: Dracula’s Cat | Series: Monster Pets #1 | Author: Gary Buettner | Pub. Date: 2014-10-7 | ISBN13: 9781940344164 | Genre: Kids Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: Near-drowning | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased | Purchase on Amazon |

Monster Pets: Dracula’s Cat

Belfry has an afternoon appointment to see the vet and Dracula is, uhhh, busy.

Mina is a regular girl who pet-sits to save money for camp.  Mina’s father is an accountant who works with monsters and makes house calls to their secret neighborhood, Midnight Villas.  On a visit to the Villas, Mina has the sudden idea to offer her pet-sitting service to the monsters. When Dracula calls, she accepts the job even though she knows nothing about cats with wings.

When Belfry escapes, Mina learns that there are many monsters out there. Some are obvious, while others stay hidden. Some are good, but others are very, very bad, and one, in particular, is very unhappy about losing his cat.  Join Mina as she races against time and monsters to find Belfry and return Dracula’s Cat!- Goodreads

Book cover for Dracula's Cat

Monster Pets: Dracula’s Cat Review

Dracula’s Cat, the first book in the Monster Pets series by Gary Buettner, was a fun read. It’s solidly middle-graded, with a heroine who is just starting to realize boys aren’t entirely yucky. Mina is smart, brave, and desperately wants to go to Zoo Camp. If that means she has to babysit pets, so be it. However, babysitting Monster Pets, that might be a little more than she planned for and the hijinks that ensue definitely test her mettle.

At 116 pages long (with a bonus section from the next book), Dracula’s Cat the perfect size for your middle-grade reader to tackle alone. I read it with my eight-year-old over a stretch of four nights. The first night, she begged me for additional chapters after I had planned to stop reading. She was completely wrapped up in the story and thought that Dracula’s cat was just the coolest animal ever. There was appropriate wincing, hissing, and cheering from her as we made our way through the book.

The detail is simple and perfect. The author builds the Monster Villas area just enough to sketch out the area in young reader’s minds without losing them in info-dumps. The dialogue is believable. The pacing is solid, with every bit of the story propelling the plot forward.  Buettner’s Monster Pets series is imaginative, quirky, and interesting. He knows how to write a story that easily appeals to young readers.

Really, my only major complaint with Dracula’s Cat was the lack of proofreading. There were a lot of errors in this book. Given that I paid the full price for it at the Ohioana Book Festival, I can’t excuse it as a beta read or ARC copy. Even though it had a great cover and felt high-quality, the sheer amount of errors really ratcheted back my opinion of the book.  Anyone reading with an objective eye before this went to the printer should have been able to catch at least most of the errors. (To be fair, it’s not like there was one every page, but my threshold for errors in printed book is 1-3, and there was a lot more than that.)

Overall, though it needs a good go with a red pen, there is potential in Monster Pets: Dracula’s Cat. I can’t say that I’d pay full price for paperbacks for the rest of the series right now, but I’d probably get the kindle version without batting an eyelash.

3 Star Rated book Review on Sci-Fi & Scary