Most people who know me know that the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite things. It has been the dominant pop culture text in my life for almost 20 years, so of course my husband bought our son the BtVS picture book for his second birthday.
We read it for the first time a few nights ago, and, y’all, this is done so lovingly, I almost cried. If you love BtVS and you like picture books, pick this one up.
The plot is simple. This is, let’s say, an AU where Buffy lived in Sunnydale when she was in elementary school. Don’t think about canon too hard. The writers of the show didn’t, so we probably shouldn’t, either. Sixteen year old Buffy introduces herself at the beginning, then sends us in a flashback to when she was eight years old and afraid of the dark, because OF COURSE there is a monster in her closet.
And you know how BtVS is all about literalizing tropes, so… She’s not wrong. She recruits Willow, Xander, and Giles to help her with the problem, and of course through the power of friendship it all works out.
But where the whole thing shines is the little touches in the illustration. Each time I read it, I find a new BtVS easter egg. I don’t want to spoil too much, so here are just a couple examples.
Below, I’ve noted a few special Sunnydale locations in the front endpapers in yellow.
Next, a few things worth noticing in Buffy’s room, this time in blue:
And this is just the beginning. Each page has tons of this stuff, and the book’s climax has the best references of all.
Right before the climax, though, we get this page:
And really, isn’t stepping into the darkness together what BtVS is all about?