A metafictive treat.

READ REVIEW

I WILL CHOMP YOU!

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.

EVEN MONSTERS...

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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For youngsters working on self-control (a school-readiness skill), Stewart does…eventually…learn that good things come to...

THIS MONSTER CANNOT WAIT!

Stewart, from This Monster Needs a Haircut (2012), is going camping for the first time, and he (literally) cannot wait.

The camping trip is five whole days away. That is agony for such an impulsive and excitable monster. (Even on the title page, he’s already urging readers to “Just read the book already!”) In the hopes of speeding things up, Stewart paints the clocks, changes the calendar and even builds a time machine—but nothing works. Then Stewart realizes that if he could just make the end of the story come faster, camping would come faster too! Crumbling the fourth wall for readers, he reaches down to tug at the corners of the pages, while eagerly ripping another completely in half. Fortunately, Stewart’s parents are not amused and make him tape the book back together. Toothy and unkempt, with wild eyes and a temper tantrum of a roar—“I wanna go camping NOW!”—Stewart fully embodies a preschooler who has not yet mastered the art of waiting. Barton’s sprawling, hand-lettered text and its buoyant placement match the urgency of Stewart’s desperation. Patience is certainly a virtue, and one that is difficult to learn.

For youngsters working on self-control (a school-readiness skill), Stewart does…eventually…learn that good things come to those who wait. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3779-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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