Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MONSTERS by Elizabeth Spurr

MONSTERS

Mind Your Manners

By Elizabeth Spurr (Author) , Simon Scales (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8075-5251-3
Publisher: Whitman

Awkward rhymes, predictable situations and muddy illustrations combine to create a didactic look at bad behavior. Hairy horned monsters, one with multiple eyes, all with goofy grins, descend upon a hapless, unnamed girl and boy—presumably brother and sister. They invade the kids’ old-fashioned–looking house and promptly make a mess, painting on the walls, sliding on the floors and playing a game of indoor baseball. The monsters then take their bad behavior on the road—to the park, on a bus, to a school classroom and cafeteria (with the inevitable burping) and home again, where they discover the result of their rudeness: They miss the bedtime story. The first sentence typifies the bumpy rhythm of the text: “Look out, children, / here they come, / bringing pandemonium.”  A later description—“MONSTERS despise tidiness. / They’ve made this room a / ghastly mess”—exemplifies the clumsy rhymes. Scales’ illustrations appear to have been created digitally and feature bright colors and cartoon-y expressions.  Unfortunately, the attempt to create a sense of action by blurring outlines means that many of the pictures wind up looking smudged and messy. Wide-eyed kids mostly just stand around looking dismayed and are virtually indistinguishable, although some do have slightly darker skin tones. The monsters, meanwhile, never live up to the (limited) promise of the premise. In short: monstrously dreadful. (Picture book. 4-6)