Cute, but fuzzy in its message, and not memorable.

MONSTERS DON'T CRY

Little Archie is very brave, but could it really be true that he never cries?

A bad dream awakens orange monster Archie in the middle of the night (his teddy bear has exactly the same frightened expression on its face), but he doesn't cry. He just snuggles into bed between Daddy and Mummy. When his toy boat springs a leak, when he's chased by a goat, when he falls off his swing, and even when he eats too much birthday cake, the story is the same: "Monsters may roar, may growl or just sigh, / But monsters are strong, monsters don't cry!" Archie also gets stuck in a tree, lost in a maze, scared by a bee during a picnic and dizzy after riding his tricycle in circles, and still there are no tears. But when his hug causes Teddy's head to come off, Archie's brave front crumbles, and the tears come. Luckily, Mummy and Daddy are right there to fix things. "Monsters may roar, may growl or just sigh, / But monsters need love if ever they cry." McKee's verse is accessible, and his repeated refrain properly catchy. Burfoot's pictures, in watercolor and colored pencils, are eye-poppingly bright and full of funny touches; Teddy is depicted in every adventure as Archie's Mini-Me, probably the book’s strongest feature.

Cute, but fuzzy in its message, and not memorable. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-84939-291-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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A humorous, somewhat unoriginal offering—for kids who prefer monsters to dinosaurs.

EVEN MONSTERS...

Who says monsters can only be frightful?

Although monsters roar, snarl, grumble, growl and howl, Smith’s playful text asserts that they also know how to behave. The text’s cheeky humor is immediately apparent as the tasks the little monsters carry out involve putting on clean underwear and combing cooties out of their fur. Illustrations extend the text about eating a “well-rounded breakfast” by depicting a box of “Swamp Munch Cereal” with “Free Bugs Inside” alongside a carton of “Mantis Milk.” Such playful intraiconic work affirms the interdependence of art and text, but the occasional indistinctness of the art and the sometimes-cluttered layout of the pages undermine the overall cohesion of the work as a whole. Furthermore, readers familiar with Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs… series may find that this title cuts a bit too close to the line between similar and derivative in its execution.

A humorous, somewhat unoriginal offering—for kids who prefer monsters to dinosaurs. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8652-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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