An attack of peevishness is defused with a change in perspective.
A Boy, dark-haired, golden-skinned, and almond-eyed, has built a treehouse in a field. It is stocked with the usual: a kazoo, a spyglass, a potted sunflower, a galvanized tub full of festive water balloons. Then a Monster—a purple one with a wide grin and narwhal tusks sticking out of its head—builds a treehouse next door. They become friends even if they can’t communicate all that well at first. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” asks the Boy. “BURLAP!” replies the Monster. The Boy plays a few notes on his kazoo. The Monster responds with a great, rolling blat from a sousaphone, which annoys the Boy. They hurl insults—“Slithey tove!” “Turtle neck!”—engage in a furious water-balloon fight (“And so it went”; from Lewis Carroll to Kurt Vonnegut), then beat retreats. Only when the Boy goes to deliver a friendship-ending note to the Monster’s treehouse (which is empty of Monster, who is guess where?) does he begin to consider that the Monster likes loud music but is a fun neighbor otherwise. The notes hit are those in the keys of empathy and diplomacy, ably supported by gentle, mixed-media illustrations that vary sequential panels, vignettes, and expansive, double-page spreads. Give a little, take a sousaphone.
Listeners should absorb the book’s elegantly executed common sense like a sponge. (Picture book. 3-7)