Every monster, imaginary or not, will enjoy this and hopefully also find something to enjoy about school.

READ REVIEW

EVEN MONSTERS GO TO SCHOOL

A grown-up monster describes in rhyming verse how monsters of all types go to school, and so must this child monster, no matter how glum about the prospect.

The copyright page and first spread show a very reluctant monster coming down the stairs, dragging a bouncing backpack, to a breakfast of mush. No text sets up this situation. Instead, the text reads “When Bigfoot wakes, he combs his hair…,” which is confusing since none of that is shown. The page turn then syncs text with image, showing Bigfoot jumping out of a tree to catch the bus: “and steps out in the morning air. / Yellow bus is waiting there. // Even Bigfoot goes to school.” The rhyming, smartly scanning stanzas continue, showing that Frankenstein (the monster, wearing Converse-like shoes), dragons, Yeti, bridge trolls, the Loch Ness Monster, Jack’s giant, and aliens all go to school. The last few spreads return to the titular monster, blue-furred with yellow horns and purple stripe and sporting a pink dress and purple backpack, getting ready and then happily waving goodbye while headed to the bus. Van Dusen’s gouache illustrations are spring-bright and cheerful, every (nonscary) imaginary beast delighting in some aspect of school. Once past the opening narrative hiccup, young readers will delight in the premise and in the myriad visual details, which do include gender-binary restrooms in one scene.

Every monster, imaginary or not, will enjoy this and hopefully also find something to enjoy about school. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-236642-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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