Mini-monster Mr. Flat needs some help.
Alex doesn’t like tidying his room
or doing his homework, and he can be careless at school too. When Alex is sent to
help librarian Emma clean up the storeroom (as punishment for his having made a
mess in the library earlier), he finds a small, orange, stuffed monster toy.
Later, searching his untidy room for missing homework, Alex comes across a
story he wrote. Reading it out loud brings the stuffie to life. After Mr. Flat
introduces himself with a song, Alex and Mr. Flat explore the literary canon together,
but then Mr. Flat reveals that he and his friends were exiled from a book by
the evil Dr. Brut. When Alex’s mom tidies his room and sells Mr. Flat, can Alex
retrieve him and help Mr. Flat and his monster friends? This first in a series
of highly illustrated short chapter books is a bit clunky. Whether the clunks
are the result of being translated from Spanish to French and then to English,
are due to cultural differences, or find their sources in the original is an interesting
academic question but likely immaterial to children. It’s just clunky. The
goofy, full-color cartoon illustrations and multitude of speech-bubble conversations
are enticing, but the characterizations are shallow and the density of text,
forbidding to the readers most likely to be attracted to it. The characters
seem to be all white. Sequel Restaurant Rescue! publishes simultaneously.
Overall…flat. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 5-9)