Though most readers would probably rather not face a Cyclops principal, hopefully they will have as good a first day as Blue...

MONSTERS LOVE SCHOOL

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)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228618-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable.

SNOW GLOBE WISHES

When a snowstorm blows through town, it knocks out power and sends evening commuters scurrying for the safety and warmth of home.

But in the electricity-free night, one family turns the darkness into an opportunity to slow down and enjoy time together. This charming story follows the evening of an interracial family of four: a brown-skinned and dark-haired woman, little girl, and little boy, and a man presenting as white with light-colored skin and light hair. They have a candlelit picnic of Chinese takeout next to a blazing fireplace and decorated Christmas tree. The family enjoys the rest of the quiet snowy evening beneath a blanket fort in which they sleep together, cat and dog bundled in as well. The next morning, they and the rest of the community go out to play in the snow. The final spread in the book depicts the family’s cat and dog looking at the happy human tableau, now within the snow globe, which reads “Peace on Earth.” The muted colors, simple, childlike renderings, and happy characters make this book about a snowstorm feel warm and cozy—think hygge in picture-book form. Aside from the star-topped, decorated tree and the “Peace on Earth” message, often associated with Christmas, there are no religious symbols used in the book.

The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-53411-031-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

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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