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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Underwear proves underwhelming in this weak attempt at eliciting preschool giggles.

THE GHOST WITH THE SMELLY OLD UNDERWEAR

From the Somos8 series

The only thing worse than a haunting? A putrid, odiferous undergarment haunting!

The mostly human denizens of Scaryville, representing a range of skin tones, have a ghost problem. Whether they’re at the movies or just trying to sit down to dinner, the ghost with the smelly old underwear, its knickers clearly in a twist, will pop out of nowhere. Something must be done, so one by one brave volunteers march into the ghost’s castle, always retreating when they encounter the haunting. Fortunately, Old Granny Fanny, a light-skinned, gray-haired woman, appears with a pair of fresh new undies for the unhappy spirit, and things take a turn for the better. Gómez’s cartoonish art has a childlike simplicity to it. Much of the plot’s heavy lifting relies on its young audience finding the repeated phrase smelly old underwear hilarious. For those who do not, the book may be a bit of a slog. Further, the text, translated from Spanish, has its share of clunky moments. For example, the citizens of Scaryville are scared, “Because there lived… // The ghost with the smelly old underwear!!!” Putting aside precisely how a ghost “lives,” disconnections between text and image include visits to “the garbage dump,” which appears to simply be a single trash bin. This tale fails to reach its potential. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Underwear proves underwhelming in this weak attempt at eliciting preschool giggles. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-84-18599-43-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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