No more than a side dish next to the appetite-killing courses dished out by Shel Silverstein, by Adam Rex in Frankenstein...

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SPIDER SANDWICHES

Freedman climbs aboard an already overcrowded bandwagon with this catalog of gross-out goodies in Max the monster’s larder.

With characteristic disregard for exact rhymes or rhythm, the author lays out arrays of stomach-churning delicacies, from the titular sandwiches to “toenail scrambled eggs” and pickled worms: “He LOVES to glug slug milkshakes, / through a stinky hosepipe straw. / And as for beetle cookies— / he can ALWAYS munch one more!” In illustrations teeming with creepy crawlies, unidentifiable globs and grocery items like “Mice Krispies,” Max, a hairball tinted yellow-green and equipped with bicycle-horn ears, chows down with googly-eyed exuberance—until a final dish of Brussels sprouts sends him (as it does so many readers) shrieking from the room.

No more than a side dish next to the appetite-killing courses dished out by Shel Silverstein, by Adam Rex in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (2006) and by so many others. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-6196-3364-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Still, a triumphant sally in the long-running war against closet and other domestic monsters, with these mildly scary...

AVA THE MONSTER SLAYER

Come bedtime, Ava is dismayed to discover that Mom has left her Piggy in the dryer…in the basement…where the monsters are.

Mom is answering the phone, Daddy is out in the garage, and big brother (the one who told her all about the monsters in the first place) is naturally unhelpful, so Ava pushes up her glasses, screws her courage to the sticking place, and sets off to the rescue. It’s not a quiet expedition, as Ava has several monsters to frighten off before she even gets to the basement door, and once down the dark stairs, she finds Piggy in the clutches of not one but two big, green horrors. Along with oversized screeches and repeated exclamations of “OH NO!” to highlight the all-caps narrative, Felten scratches out a fierce young heroine in heavy-framed specs and heart pajamas, brandishing a homemade wooden sword and recklessly charging a succession of grimacing ghouls to reclaim her beloved plushy. The illustrator is a little cavalier with details—a basement monster licking its lips while holding Piggy “in his yucky hand” has neither lips nor hands in the picture. Also, the pink boots and sparkly crown that Ava pauses to don may be overdoing the girly bit.

Still, a triumphant sally in the long-running war against closet and other domestic monsters, with these mildly scary monsters not slain but thoroughly routed. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63450-151-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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