Fiendish monsters—and everyone else—rejoice! (Picture book. 3-7)

QUIT CALLING ME A MONSTER!

A grand return to a world of endearing monsters from the duo behind I Will Chomp You! (2015).

Readers meet an immaculately dressed, wildly hairy monster who has more than its share of woes. “Quit calling me a monster! Just…stop it, right this minute!” John once again employs direct address to let the monster air its grievances. At first, the scraggly protagonist attempts to prove to readers that it's not so monstrous. Sure, it does have all the trademarks of a monster, with its “huge, toothy smile that glows in the dark” and “crazy hair” and “wild eyes.” However, looks can deceive. As the monster gradually rallies against stereotypes and directs its ire toward readers, the book plumbs even greater depths of humor. “It’s not like I ever call you names, do I?” Shea’s colorful, expressive illustrations enhance the theatrical antics of the monster through the twitch of a grin or eye, making the monster seem as approachable as it is cranky. Still, the good old monster can’t seem to shake the label. After admitting that, OK, it is a monster, it instead opts for a different approach, introducing itself to readers. “My name is Floyd. Floyd Peterson.” After all, Floyd Peterson sounds like someone no one would mind meeting.

Fiendish monsters—and everyone else—rejoice! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-38990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Chilling in the best ways.

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CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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This magical wisp of a story has an imaginative message for both planners and improvisers.

JULIA'S HOUSE MOVES ON

From the Julia's House series

Julia decides to pack up and move her House for Lost Creatures, creating a host of problems with unexpected results.

Julia has taken in a cacophony of lost creatures: dwarves, trolls, and goblins, a singular rarity of a mermaid, and a patchwork cat, among others. But now, the house feels ready for a move. As the ghost starts to fade and the mermaid languishes, Julia puts her plan into action—packing books and stacking boxes. The move quickly turns into a series of catastrophes. Trying to retain the facade of control, Julia is dismayed to see her plans making things worse. Knowledge of the previous title, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures (2014), is a helpful introduction, as Hatke turns the solution of the first book into the problem for this one. With skillful pacing, the story has messages for both planners and creatives. The problems seem beyond resolution, keeping readers in gleeful suspended tension. While the first book introduced readers to the gnomish folletti, a hedgehoglike ghillie comes to a dramatic rescue here. There are two disparate messages in one story: Kindness will be returned, and it is OK to not have a plan. Connecting them together are lush illustrations that stretch the mind and add details to mythic beasts. Julia presents white. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25% of actual size.)

This magical wisp of a story has an imaginative message for both planners and improvisers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-19137-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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