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

READ REVIEW

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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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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A brightly colored monster tale that begs to be animated. Repeat readings required.

MONSTER TROUBLE!

How do you deal with an infestation of monsters?

“Winifred Schnitzel was never afraid. / Not of monsters or ghouls or the noises they made.” In fact, young Winifred loves pirates and werewolves and scary movies. This doesn’t stop monsters of all shapes and sizes from trying to scare her, but all of their growling and snarling and menacing is for naught, as Winifred thinks monsters are cute. However, their nightly visits are keeping her awake, so she buys a book (Monsters Beware!) for monster-trapping ideas. The sticky-string trap doesn’t work, and neither does the stinky cheese (they just eat it). She’s so pooped she sleeps through ballet class. Next, she makes every trap in her monster book, and that tuckers her out to such an extent that she’s already snoring when the monsters arrive the next night. She wakes groggily from a dream of kissing puppies and accidentally kisses a monster on the schnozzle—thus discovering every monster’s weakness. Now she dismisses each monster with a kiss and sleeps very well every night. Fredrickson’s jauntily rhyming tale of brave, African-American Winifred is an excellent balm to monster fears. Robertson’s googly-eyed monsters of all shapes and sizes are cartoon-adorable, with just a hint of toothy, clawed ferocity.

A brightly colored monster tale that begs to be animated. Repeat readings required. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1345-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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