Snaggle-toothed, asymmetrical, bug-eyed monsters abound in this not-so-subtle “A pet is a big responsibility” primer.
From the moment the protagonist starts obsessing over owning a monster, her father is doomed. To ensure a visit to the Monsterium, she wields some well-honed weapons. First there’s the tweaking of parental guilt: “All my friends have pet monsters.” Then she fires off enthusiastic promises to parental questions: “And who will pick up the monster poo?” / “I will!” The various candidates up for adoption have appropriately cutesy names such as Froops, Foffles, and Pooples. The winner is a barking Oogly-Wump that smells like pirates’ feet. After Papa names him Gus, the baby monster proceeds to swim in the toilet and eat Papa’s cellphone. When the maturing monster becomes despondent, the overenthusiastic protagonist’s solution is hair-raising. The easy-to-follow dialogue is corralled within speech bubbles, and most of the cartoony digital illustrations are placed against graph-paper backdrops, bringing to mind a child's journal entries. The abundance of rainbow-hued monsters suggests that Gravel probably had a grand time flinging darts at a color wheel. Both the girl and her father are melanin-enriched, and the other children featured are also diverse. Included at the end of the story are five brief interactive exercises that range from monster naming to monster training.
Though not quite as much fun as Gravel’s Disgusting Critters series, this offering will still elicit chuckles from the younger set. (Picture book. 4-8)