An excellent monster largely wasted by an uninspired storyline.

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THE TREASURE OF THE LOCH NESS MONSTER

TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH TALES

Two children discover the truth in a pair of Loch Ness legends.

Spinning an original story around local folklore, Don sends two cousins, Kenneth and Ishbel, rowing across the loch from their impoverished granny’s cottage to the ruins of Urquhart Castle—where, it is said, behind two identical hidden doors lie treasure or poison. No sooner do they come ashore below the ruins than a brass key washes up (sharp-eyed viewers will spot a finny tail poking up through the waves), and doors appear. The children make their choice and it’s the wrong one…but then they get to make another and find a trove of golden eggs. On the row back they are intercepted by a huge monster that smashes their boat, reclaims the eggs, and finally carries the children to safety. Along with atmospheric views of the deep loch’s swirling waters and long, low hills beneath cloudy skies, Ilincic crafts a particularly magnificent monster, green, scaly, and dragonesque. But the sketchy, patched-together narrative doesn’t measure up to the illustrations, as the author gives her characters stilted dialogue (“If we found the treasure under the castle, we could buy food”) and contrived mulligans, leaves the backstories of both the eggs and the children untold, and doesn’t let the glittering tale of the encounter be the young folks’ reward. Kenneth and Ishbel are both white.

An excellent monster largely wasted by an uninspired storyline. (source note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78250-485-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kelpies

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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No more than a side dish next to the appetite-killing courses dished out by Shel Silverstein, by Adam Rex in Frankenstein...

SPIDER SANDWICHES

Freedman climbs aboard an already overcrowded bandwagon with this catalog of gross-out goodies in Max the monster’s larder.

With characteristic disregard for exact rhymes or rhythm, the author lays out arrays of stomach-churning delicacies, from the titular sandwiches to “toenail scrambled eggs” and pickled worms: “He LOVES to glug slug milkshakes, / through a stinky hosepipe straw. / And as for beetle cookies— / he can ALWAYS munch one more!” In illustrations teeming with creepy crawlies, unidentifiable globs and grocery items like “Mice Krispies,” Max, a hairball tinted yellow-green and equipped with bicycle-horn ears, chows down with googly-eyed exuberance—until a final dish of Brussels sprouts sends him (as it does so many readers) shrieking from the room.

No more than a side dish next to the appetite-killing courses dished out by Shel Silverstein, by Adam Rex in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (2006) and by so many others. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-6196-3364-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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