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

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again.

WE'RE GOING ON A GOON HUNT

Hunt for a bear? That’s so yesterday.

On a spooky Halloween night, we’re hunting for…a green GOON. We’re not really scared. Let’s start in a pumpkin patch. We can’t go over or under it, so we’ll just go through it. We’ll do the same in other likely goon hideouts: a swamp, a tunnel, a forest, a graveyard, and, finally, a haunted house. In this atmospheric “petrifying parody” of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a dad and his four kids, dressed in Halloween finery and accompanied by their costumed pup, search for the elusive quarry. They become more frightened (particularly dad and pooch, even from the outset) as they proceed along the increasingly murky path—except for the youngest, unicorn-outfitted child, who squeals a delighted welcome to whatever creature unexpectedly materializes. As in the classic original, evocative sound effects (“Gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss, gurgle hiss!”) ring out as the quintet moves through each hazard. Unsurprisingly, the group locates the goon, forcing them to retrace their steps home in a frenzied hurry, odd noises and all. They reach safety to discover…uh-oh! Meanwhile, someone’s missing but having a ball! Even readers who’ve never read or heard about the bear expedition will appreciate this clever, comical, fast-paced take. The colorful line illustrations are humorously brooding and sweetly endearing, with the family (all members present White) portrayed as growing steadily apprehensive. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74.6% of actual size.)

Young readers will hunt out this enjoyable crowd pleaser again and again. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984813-62-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more