A cuddly, lime-green monster gets ready for a bash.
“Come to Max’s Monster Party. There’s GOO-LICIOUS food to eat! / It’s creepy-crawly, stinky fun—don’t miss the SCARY treat!” A bright-eyed group of smiling monsters, some with rounded front teeth, one with glasses, and another with an eye patch, comes through the door bearing gifts. Presents are opened, the magician entertains, the bouncy castle “sprays out gunk,” and the monsters take part in the “stinky breath contest.” Then it is time to blow out the “earwax candles” on the “eyeball birthday cake.” Once all the festivities draw to a close, not only do the attendees get to sample the titular dragon jelly—a “scrumptious, sizzling treat”—but each monster also gets a goody bag with a small, red, fire-breathing dragon to take home as a pet. Freedman’s rhyming text matches the rollicking party action, while Hendra and Linnet choose a festive, neon pastel palette set against a black background to make the festivities truly pop. Bouncy though the book is, it’s hard to imagine that the overcrowded field of birthday books really needs another. Without a plot, this benign offering, even with the charming monsters, fails to stand out.
After one reading, the party is over—pass. (Picture book. 3-5)