A lighthearted paean to the importance of cleanliness.

THE LOCH MESS MONSTER

Beware the Loch Mess monster!

The legend of the Loch Ness monster is not exactly true. There is no single monster—there are three! Nessie, Fergus, and their wee laddie, Angus, live peacefully together beneath the surface of the lake, obeying proper monster etiquette by following five basic monster rules. All is well until Angus’ untidy ways result in a grottie mess and break rule No. 2 (“Always pick up after yourself”), which leads to an extended stay in his room that’s designed to keep his mess from spreading. Believable, appealing characters and pitch-perfect pacing combine nicely with Lester’s always-humorous text and Munsinger’s hilariously detailed illustrations in this cheerful cautionary tale, as the entertaining Angus, unbothered, simply lets his mess pile up—and up. Before long, he is breaking rule No. 1 (“NevereverEVER go up to the surface of the loch”). What hazardous mysteries await? What strange creatures will Angus see? And how can his problem ever be solved? A welcome addition to any collection, this enjoyable selection will have young readers laughing out loud and maybe even straightening up their rooms in seconds flat (or at least seriously considering the possibility of doing so). A glossary of Scottish terms is included.

A lighthearted paean to the importance of cleanliness. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-09990-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same.

THERE'S AN ALIEN IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

Earth friends are easy to make for this roly-poly, extraterrestrial cutie.

Fletcher pens the fourth in his interactive book series, this time invading his pages with a crash-landed ET. At first readers are encouraged to tell the space being to shove off, but pretty quickly it becomes clear that it’s just too adorable to send away like that. Mostly yellow, it looks like nothing more than a smiley face with antennae, its oversized head occupying more volume than its trunk, arms, legs, and tail combined. The undersides of its hands, feet, and tail are bright green. Repairing its damaged spaceship is out of the question, and attempts to launch it into space by having readers bounce, turn, and lift the book are fruitless. Does it belong here? Well, when readers stop to consider all the creatures that live on this planet (including a cameo by the author in the art), we can recognize that “we’re all weird and wonderful.” So the alien stays and even makes a friend with the star of There’s a Monster in Your Book (2017). The story makes mild overtures toward the idea of embracing our differences no matter our appearance, but that’s all superseded by the interactive elements. By now the series is treading familiar ground, but fans will find the combination of cute creatures and gentle moralizing a comfort.

Not exactly out of this world but a pleaser just the same. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12512-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Another engaging outing.

THERE'S A WITCH IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

When a witch crash-lands into this book, she’ll need help from readers in tidying up her messes.

The newest in Fletcher and Abbott’s Who’s in Your Book? series stars a mischievous, messy witch. With text instructing readers directly, children will use their “finger wands” to turn the witch into a cat and pop bubble bunnies. There’s even a spell that makes a hole in some pages, an orifice through which readers push excess slime. All of the fun ends with a cleaned-up book and a sleepover with little monsters. The built-in reader participation is a serious trademark, and most of the actions can be accomplished either one-on-one with an adult or in a group setting. Abbott’s illustrations hit on the cute side of spooky, the smiling, redheaded witch with classic green skin and a pointed black hat, a cauldron, and a broomstick. All of the backgrounds are simple bright colors, purples, pinks, blue, and orange, zeroing the focus in on the messy action. Careful observers will notice a torn blue hole drawn on the copyright page, illustrating the witch’s crash into the book. It’s tried-and-true rather than surprising at this point, but the simple and straightforward formula will certainly appeal to readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Another engaging outing. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12515-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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