Endearing and good-hearted.

GROBBLECHOPS

Based on a tale by the Sufi mystic Rumi, this oversized picture book adroitly calms a child’s fear of monsters through some creative parental problem-solving.

Young Amir, toothbrush in hand, stalls at bedtime, imagining a monster with huge teeth who doubtlessly wants to eat him. His dad suggests that Amir growl like a tiger to scare the monster away and offers to intervene with a frying pan—but Amir conjures up monster parents with a larger frying pan. The scenario escalates, with Amir’s mom intrepidly charging in with an umbrella and the monster parents retaliating. Finally, Amir's parents offer coffee and sweets to their counterparts; while they chat, Amir shares his toy cars with his new monster friend, Grobblechops. Thus appeased, Amir settles down for the night in his cozy bed, holding his teddy bear close. But his dad leaves the door open, just a little, to let “a bit of light” in. The kinesthetic, splattery quality of the illustrations draws young eyes to the story, and the slightly off-kilter orientation of many of the scenes adds a sense of appropriately disorienting whimsy. The reassurance offered by Amir’s parents proves a comforting salve for a common childhood anxiety. Amir and his parents have brown skin and black hair.

Endearing and good-hearted. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-910328-41-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Funny though the illustrations are and loving though the text is, the book falls short due to lack of nuance.

BECAUSE I'M YOUR DAD

Unabashed sentimentality dominates the text in this loving promise from a father to his child.

What saves this title from being just a syrupy pronouncement are the characters. Santat has good fun creating scenes for two hairy, horned monsters, the dad pickle green and the child a pleasing purple. The somewhat cuddly pair is comically shown participating in their less-than-ordinary activities like “having spaghetti for breakfast, French toast for dinner, and rocky road ice cream in the bathtub.” They play with robots, listen to really loud music, burp like champions and miss school to visit New York to share a hot dog. Readers will smile at the low-key humor in the pictures. The page stating, “Because I’m your dad, you can sometimes stay up late with me to watch TV” depicts the father asleep while the child sits on the sofa terrified by what is on the screen. Warm moments abound, as when little monster is rolled up by her father in a blanket like a burrito or when the dad checks the closet and under the bed for monsters. Zappa wrote this story for his daughter, and it overflows with genuine fatherly affection that he would like to pass on, since his father (avant-garde rocker Frank Zappa) did the same for him.

Funny though the illustrations are and loving though the text is, the book falls short due to lack of nuance. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4774-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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A brightly colored monster tale that begs to be animated. Repeat readings required.

MONSTER TROUBLE!

How do you deal with an infestation of monsters?

“Winifred Schnitzel was never afraid. / Not of monsters or ghouls or the noises they made.” In fact, young Winifred loves pirates and werewolves and scary movies. This doesn’t stop monsters of all shapes and sizes from trying to scare her, but all of their growling and snarling and menacing is for naught, as Winifred thinks monsters are cute. However, their nightly visits are keeping her awake, so she buys a book (Monsters Beware!) for monster-trapping ideas. The sticky-string trap doesn’t work, and neither does the stinky cheese (they just eat it). She’s so pooped she sleeps through ballet class. Next, she makes every trap in her monster book, and that tuckers her out to such an extent that she’s already snoring when the monsters arrive the next night. She wakes groggily from a dream of kissing puppies and accidentally kisses a monster on the schnozzle—thus discovering every monster’s weakness. Now she dismisses each monster with a kiss and sleeps very well every night. Fredrickson’s jauntily rhyming tale of brave, African-American Winifred is an excellent balm to monster fears. Robertson’s googly-eyed monsters of all shapes and sizes are cartoon-adorable, with just a hint of toothy, clawed ferocity.

A brightly colored monster tale that begs to be animated. Repeat readings required. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1345-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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