Combine monsters, ridiculousness, and audience participation for a delightfully raucous result.

MONSTERS GO NIGHT-NIGHT

Though this book is all about monsters’ bedtime routines, don’t be fooled—this will induce not sleep but its opposite.

Young readers see each step the monsters take in getting ready for bed and are asked to guess which of several items they might eat for a bedtime snack, use to take a bath and brush their teeth, wear as pajamas, snuggle with, and kiss. The very simple sentences and clues in the bright illustrations allow even the youngest children to “read” this very quickly. “MONSTERS eat bedtime snacks. / Which snack do MONSTERS eat?” A glass of milk, a carrot, a piece of bread, or an umbrella? A turn of the page reveals “MONSTERS eat UMBRELLAS!” Similarly, monsters ignore the rubber ducky, shampoo, and bar of soap in favor of bathing in chocolate pudding. By the third question, most children will have caught on and will be happily blurting out the most ridiculous item on the page, which also happens to stand out clearly from the other three. Helpfully, the author breaks this pattern when it comes to potty time. In his ink, brush, and Photoshop illustrations, Zenz uses bright, plain backgrounds to keep the focus on the characters and their choices. The monsters are adorable and wonderfully diverse in all their multilimbed and -eyed glory, featuring sprouts of hair, horns, tails, and spikes.

Combine monsters, ridiculousness, and audience participation for a delightfully raucous result. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1653-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A simple story enhanced by its funny, gently ironic illustrations.

MY GOOD MORNING

A little girl diligently gets ready for her day but leaves lots of messes in her wake.

The unnamed girl has light brown skin and dark brown curls similar to her dad’s, and her mom is white. The characters in the digital illustrations have big, exaggerated eyes. The child narrates the text matter-of-factly in simple rhyming sentences: “Time to go potty. I can do this! / Mommy is there to make sure I don’t miss.” Each double-page spread presents a slightly different, humorous visual interpretation of the situation, and it’s in this juxtaposition that the book shines. The cat’s in the hamper, underwear and socks are on the floor, and the pink toilet paper is trailing all over. The two parents seem a little overwhelmed. As they both try to get the girl into her clothes, one arm escapes, and the dad is really sweating from exertion. She insists on tying her laces and buttoning her coat, and the illustrations show the exuberant but incomplete results. As the girl grabs her backpack, her apple rolls out, and Mommy has to grab it. At school, she hangs her coat up, but somehow it lands on the floor (her scarf is also awry), and observant viewers will notice that her shoelace is still untied. In her diverse classroom, she proudly announces: “But this time Daddy, I won’t cry”—and now readers can believe her: there’s nary a tear in sight.

A simple story enhanced by its funny, gently ironic illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60537-342-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A metafictive treat.

I WILL CHOMP YOU!

Never mind a monster at the end, there’s a monster all the way through this book!

Starting on Page 1, the protagonist monster uses direct address to warn readers not to turn any pages. The book’s very title reveals the threat behind this warning, and Shea’s toothy monster—all mouth and head and bluster—seems ready to follow through with it. Disobeying the command provokes metafictive peril as warnings to readers persist, and various small creatures depicted on the page (a bird, a frog, and a wee bunny) flee its chomping jaws. The monster misses both them and disobedient readers, growing increasingly angry. Clever illustration choices make it seem as though the monster has chomped through the pages of the book, and soon its commands devolve into pleading. Why? “It’s because I have all my cakes back here, at the end of the book,” the greedy monster explains. In a fiendish ploy to trick readers, the monster offers to share, saying, “just come a little closer…” and a page turn reveals (yet another) “CHOMP!” Defeated, the monster resigns itself to readers’ progress toward the end of the book, and it chomps up all the cakes, leaving it with the just deserts of a bellyache. Throughout, Shea’s vibrant, silly pictures diminish the scariness of the story’s premise and deliver humorous characterization.

A metafictive treat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38986-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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