Austin’s scribbly, lovable monsters are back, this time going beyond an exploration of colors (Monsters Love Colors, 2013) to tackle the biggest adventure of all—Monster School.
Yellow, pink, green, blue, long-legged, many-legged, one-eyed, two-eyed, scaly and furry monsters’ summer fun has come to an end, and they must check their school-supply lists and head off. Not all are smiling, though, as they cross the street with Miss Wiggles’ help: “Wiggle, wiggle, cross the street. / Off to school, now move those feet!” Little Gray tries to alleviate Blue’s fears, but there are many of them, and he is convinced he already knows his “ABGs and 413s and XYDs,” so who needs school? But after a day filled with art, recess, Miss Spel’s spelling lessons, Chef Octi’s lunchtime gruel, history, library and Singing Club, Blue has changed his tune. Austin has masterfully folded some valuable information about the first day of school into his funny tale, but the monsters are the big draw. Not the least bit scary, their simple shapes and accessories and scrawled style will likely have kids reaching for their own “monster pencils, monster crayons, monster ink and brushes”—as Austin claims to have used in his media statement.
Though most readers would probably rather not face a Cyclops principal, hopefully they will have as good a first day as Blue and come to love school. (Picture book. 4-8)