A been-there-done-that just-try-to-impress-me boy gets his wish to “be something screamingly scary. / Something fanged and foul and terribly hairy!”
“Master Edgar Dreadbury found Halloween a bore.” He’s not interested in costumes—he seeks transformation. A mysterious machine called the MONSTERATOR—a cross between a sideshow amusement and a steampunk invention—beckons. After much rumbling, clanging and hissing, the machine disgorges Edgar, now a fearsome roaring monster. With horns, grimacing purple face, orange brows and green reptilian hands, feet and tail, he is a frightening sight—and he loves it. Although he tries to find the machine after Halloween to reverse the transformation, he is unsuccessful. Happily, he soon grows “fond of his freakish new features” and to “[relish] his role as a monstrous creature.” Graves dares here to explore a child’s dark side, and the result is a refreshingly original yet wondrously creepy tale. Superb for reading aloud, the story also poses topics for discussion. Why does he want to frighten everyone so much? Should you be careful about what you wish for? Readers throughout the book are rewarded with moody gray scenes punctuated with bright hues to draw focus to the machine or the monster, greatly enhancing this page-turner. Though it’s already eerily impressive with its elegant design, an added treat is a paper version of a monsterator with a flippable split-page novelty element at the book’s end.
A true, monstrous success! (Picture book. 5-9)