Delightful if a tad one-dimensional.



Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Gregor, a little green monster who loves to run and shout and show off his horrendous strength by lifting heavy things, is bothered by a nagging, “nasty thought.” He looks in a mirror one day, seeing his big nose and “sticking-out ears,” and asks himself, “Am I handsome?” Mommy seems the perfect person to answer the question. “Of course,” she says. “I don’t know anyone who can squint as handsomely as you.” Daddy agrees, adding, “You’ve got the stinkiest, cheesiest feet in the whole world!” Daddy gleefully tosses him in the air, downing a small plane and a handful of birds. Granddad admires Gregor’s “rotten crooked” teeth; his neighbor loves his “mucky, yucky” warts; his little brother likes his “wibbly-wobbly” tummy; and Gregor’s best friend praises his gray, greasy, scaly, scabby skin. (Her magnifying glass reveals all sorts of wacky dermal life.) Gregor looks in the mirror again and remembers all of the things that his family and friends have told him. At length, he realizes: “It was true. He really was handsome!” Dully’s bright, digital illustrations are deliriously goofy, each a story in itself. They give Dax’s straightforward silliness, teeming with juicy adjectives, a nice lift. The story itself doesn’t plumb the depths, concentrating on skin-deep humor.

Delightful if a tad one-dimensional. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-76036-029-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A metafictive treat.


Never mind a monster at the end, there’s a monster all the way through this book!

Starting on Page 1, the protagonist monster uses direct address to warn readers not to turn any pages. The book’s very title reveals the threat behind this warning, and Shea’s toothy monster—all mouth and head and bluster—seems ready to follow through with it. Disobeying the command provokes metafictive peril as warnings to readers persist, and various small creatures depicted on the page (a bird, a frog, and a wee bunny) flee its chomping jaws. The monster misses both them and disobedient readers, growing increasingly angry. Clever illustration choices make it seem as though the monster has chomped through the pages of the book, and soon its commands devolve into pleading. Why? “It’s because I have all my cakes back here, at the end of the book,” the greedy monster explains. In a fiendish ploy to trick readers, the monster offers to share, saying, “just come a little closer…” and a page turn reveals (yet another) “CHOMP!” Defeated, the monster resigns itself to readers’ progress toward the end of the book, and it chomps up all the cakes, leaving it with the just deserts of a bellyache. Throughout, Shea’s vibrant, silly pictures diminish the scariness of the story’s premise and deliver humorous characterization.

A metafictive treat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38986-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A humorous, somewhat unoriginal offering—for kids who prefer monsters to dinosaurs.


Who says monsters can only be frightful?

Although monsters roar, snarl, grumble, growl and howl, Smith’s playful text asserts that they also know how to behave. The text’s cheeky humor is immediately apparent as the tasks the little monsters carry out involve putting on clean underwear and combing cooties out of their fur. Illustrations extend the text about eating a “well-rounded breakfast” by depicting a box of “Swamp Munch Cereal” with “Free Bugs Inside” alongside a carton of “Mantis Milk.” Such playful intraiconic work affirms the interdependence of art and text, but the occasional indistinctness of the art and the sometimes-cluttered layout of the pages undermine the overall cohesion of the work as a whole. Furthermore, readers familiar with Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs… series may find that this title cuts a bit too close to the line between similar and derivative in its execution.

A humorous, somewhat unoriginal offering—for kids who prefer monsters to dinosaurs. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-8652-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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