A giggly geography lesson for trip planners and daydreamers.

READ REVIEW

TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS

Buckle up and get ready for a rollicking road trip with merry monsters.

This cast of joyful monsters in bright colors with myriad different sizes, shapes, facial features, and appendages is guaranteed to make young readers giggle. In this tour of urban and nature-based tourist attractions, the rhyming west-to-east journey connects U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Hollywood, Nashville, Orlando, and the nation’s capital, with national parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Everglades, and the Cape Cod National Seashore (with one generic amusement park tossed in for good measure). Most destinations merit a double-page spread with scrapbook border and the state name emblazoned across a federal highway marker. Lively illustrations capture a monster’s mischief at every stop. The San Francisco cable car turns one monster slightly green with nausea. Another grinning monster mugs for the camera as the fifth face on Mount Rushmore while a third gets its “15 seconds’ fame” compliments of Wrigley Field’s Kiss Cam. Decked out in sunglasses and floral swim trunks, a daring monster boogie boards over Niagara Fall. But who knew another would get dizzy atop Lady Liberty? In a quiet feminist statement, readers are admonished that “should you meet the president, / assure her he [the monster] won’t bite.” Background illustrations show tourists with a range of skin tones and ages, and the aforementioned president is white.

A giggly geography lesson for trip planners and daydreamers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-53411-037-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone.

HOW I MET MY MONSTER

From the I Need My Monster series

In a tardy prequel to I Need My Monster (2009), candidates for that coveted spot under the bed audition.

As the distressingly unflappable young narrator looks on, one monster after another gives it a go—but even with three mouths, the best roar Genghis can manage is a puny “blurp!”, silly shadow puppets by shaggy Morgan elicit only a sneeze, and red Abigail’s attempt to startle by hiding in the fridge merely leaves her shivering and pathetic. Fortunately, there’s Gabe, who knows just how to turn big and hairy while lurking outside the bathroom and whose red-eyed stare and gross drooling sends the lad scrambling into bed to save his toes. “Kid, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” the toothy terror growls. Right he is, the lad concludes, snuggling down beneath the covers: “His snorts and ooze were perfect.” As usual, the white-presenting child’s big, bright, smiling face and the assortment of bumbling monsters rendered in oversaturated hues keep any actual scariness at tentacle’s length. Moreover, Monster, Inc. fans will delight in McWilliam’s painstaking details of fang, claw, hair, and scales.

Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947277-09-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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