Long and his bevy of monsters tackle yet another holiday in this look at the family angst that is a natural part of Thanksgiving.
All is going swimmingly for the friends—cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet-potato casserole, turkey; each made by a different monster—until Vladimir’s extended vampire family unexpectedly drops in. Uncle Gus, Aunt Bessy, and Joey and Schmoey are welcomed with arms open wide to the friends’ feast, but then the meddling begins. Aunt Bessy shrinks from the garlic in the mashed potatoes, Uncle Gus has his own way of cooking the turkey, and the Siamese twins “help” Fran with the pumpkin pie, adding maggot meatballs. The pic of everyone gathered around the table says it all: Vladimir’s family looks pleased; his friends look uncertain and a bit dismayed. As in many households, the inevitable explosion of tempers is triggered, but this one is quickly resolved in a flurry of re-dos and cooperation before a satisfying (and slightly more palatable) Friday feast. Long’s graphite pencil and digitally colored illustrations are packed with gross-out details that will have kids in stitches, and the body language and facial expressions are clearly 100 percent human even if the characters aren’t. Gus’ electrifying turkey-cooking machine, which recalls the electric chair, may be a bit over-the-top even for this series, though.
A (mostly) typical Thanksgiving: family, lumpy mashed potatoes, arguments, and all. (Picture book. 3-7)