Make a monster by lifting the flaps.
In the voice of the monster on the cover, rhyming, instructive text on each page asks readers to determine whether or not the creature in the illustrations is a monster. Children are prompted to unfold monster-appropriate appendages, including horns, wings, and scaly blue feet. A new element appears in each spread, in the manner of a reverse-order Go Away, Big Green Monster—but it’s not nearly as successful as Ed Emberley’s classic. The flaps, though carefully illustrated, are confusing: How they operate to complete the monster (as promised on the back) is inconsistent, and readers must perform a fair amount of acrobatics to make the monster visible. The rhyming text is fun to read aloud, but it meanders, shifting between grandiloquent praise of the creature’s various body parts, such as “splendid gold horns,” and entreaties to readers to tell the truth about whether or not the creature is, in fact, a monster in the negative sense. The book’s design—which includes a circular hole in the middle of the book sporting teeth and a tongue—will certainly appeal to young readers who are still exploring the world with their hands. Overall, though, both the book’s message and artwork are too confusing for most children to decipher, and the flimsiness of the flaps guarantees a short shelf life.
Interesting premise; unsuccessful result. (Board book. 2-4)