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 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015



Appealing and interactive, kid-friendly spooky fun.

Readers are invited to help the Boo Crew save the Monster Ball on Halloween.

Luna, Bones, and Fang—respectively, a wispy, gray-tinged ghost; a skeleton in a top hat and scarf; and a brown-skinned vampire—are the Boo Crew, working to fix disasters, from a witch’s malfunctioning broom to some smashed pumpkins, in time for the Monster Ball. Each page asks readers to assist: There are switches to push, candles to blow out, and claps of encouragement to give. After readers lend a hand, helping all the spooky creatures and getting materials fixed and ready, the Monster Ball goes on as planned. The rhyming text and interactive requests make this a worthy lapsit read-aloud. The Boo Crew are darling and kid-friendly, as are all of the illustrations. There are lots of charming details—the witch’s ride is a high-tech gadget labeled the Vroom Broom 5000; Frankenstein's monster is the proprietor of a boutique called Frank’s Frocks. The big-eyed, sweet-faced creatures are adorable, not scary; a teeny-tiny frog tucked into an eye socket makes even a skull look cute. Like Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2010), this one encourages readers to turn the book, press buttons, and applaud. These inclusions are popular for a reason: Kids love them. This title will be no exception. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Appealing and interactive, kid-friendly spooky fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9781728264561

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023


Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move.

An interactive board book promises a variety of experiences.

A book that gets kids up and moving sounds like a great idea. The half-circle cutout of the spine and large handle formed by another die cut on the right side are intriguing. Unfortunately, the rhyming instructions for using the book as an exercise prop are confusing. Even adults will find themselves puzzled when told to “paddle the floor,” or to “hang on the handles. Step over the book. / You're a turtle in its shell! Go peek out and look.” The busy pictures shift perspective according to each scenario presented but give few visual clues. For example, the only hint of a dinosaur on the page where readers are told to “put this book to your mouth and let out a roar” like a dinosaur are the teeth that line the edges of what is meant to be a gaping maw. It’s not always obvious whether the book is meant to be facing readers or turned away from them, adding another layer of confusion. Furthermore, many of the instructions run counter to how young children are typically taught to treat books, as when they are told to step on it and then waddle or to lift it with their feet. The relatively thin board pages and weak handles will soon be torn by normal handling; following the directions in the text will only hasten the destruction.

Leave this on the shelf and take the kids outside to really move. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8733-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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