Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Derek Pedersen ; illustrated by Katie Neipp

Pub Date: March 15th, 2022
ISBN: 979-8-9852460-0-1
Publisher: Manuscript

A young inventor’s negative words manifest as monsters in this picture book.

Sammy, who has brown skin and purple hair, loves crafting gizmos but gets frustrated when the outcome isn’t successful. After she gets zapped turning on her latest device, Sammy utters discouraging words, which create a “Thought Monster,” a scowling creature who generates chaos in her workshop. When Sammy’s invention malfunctions, sparking earthquakelike shaking, she voices self-deprecating statements—including “I’m not smart enough!”—causing more monsters to emerge. Sammy mulls quitting but finds inspiration when she reads a note of encouragement she had written to herself on the gadget’s blueprint. After she acknowledges that pessimism prevents her from “becoming an amazing inventor” and that mistakes are an inevitable part of the process, the monsters disappear. Soon, Sammy’s diligence and dedication pay off; the gizmo (a piece to a rocketlike contraption) works perfectly. Spotlighting a spirited, young protagonist, Pedersen’s tale deftly encourages youngsters to persist in their creative pursuits even when things get tough. The personification of negative talk as a troublemaking monster is clever and kid-friendly. Sammy’s experience emphasizes how treating yourself with kindness and compassion aids in success. Neipp’s bold, full-color cartoon illustrations offer vibrant scenes of the treehouse workshop filled with gadgets and amusing details like Sammy’s teddy-bear sidekick. Dialogue and active words like BOOMand PLOPare enlarged and integrated into the scenes. Shapes, lines, and squiggles indicate movement, emotions, and sounds.

An imaginative, quirky tale about perseverance and the importance of patience.