TICKLE MONSTER

Matte black pages with blocks of solid geometric color and a white sans-serif type illustrate a small child’s dialogue with an imaginary monster in the darkness before sleep.

The tickle monster has yellow horns, green hands and feet, and a blocky orange-and-blue body. The child bravely asserts, “You don’t scare me!” Tickling the monster’s body parts one by one makes them fall away. After the feet are tickled, it cannot catch the narrator; after its teeth are tickled, it cannot bite; after its tummy is tickled, it cannot swallow. As it falls into its component parts, it becomes clearer that the tickle monster’s parts are made of toys that sit in the darkness of the room: an orange car; a little house. At last the child declares, “Phew! I can finally go to sleep”—with the awareness that if the monster returns, it can be tickled to pieces once again. The whole is quite elegant in the execution of its dramatic design and the demonstration of how the child copes with fear independently, without calling on a parent. The book is a French import; the original title is Gros Cornichon, in which “cornichon” means not only “pickle” but also something like “twitbrain.”

Bonne nuit, chérie. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1731-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

more