A reassuring message wrapped in rib-tickling humor.

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A little boy learns he has nothing to fear from monsters as long as his baby sister is around.

“Everybody knows” that “monsters are afraid of babies!” In this sweet, wacky picture book, motley, frightful monsters become scared when confronted by a boy’s baby sister. As her brother looks on, the googly-eyed, lumpy, toothy, horned beasts of various sizes, shapes, and colors observe his little sister with alarm as she toddles through the house making messes, causing chaos, and bringing the monsters to tears by outdoing their “sticky and icky” and “loud and stinky” ways. Using comedy to calm children’s nighttime fears of monsters in the closet or under the bed and to help them see their maddening, drooling little sibling in a new light, the work is one of a series of three books launching a new publishing imprint by writer, director, and musician Tana (The Kitten, the Cat & the Apple, 2019, etc.). The loosely rhyming text is large and well spaced, and young readers and lapsitters will enjoy repeating the funny sound effects peppered throughout the story (“ERGG…DROOOOO…GUBB”). The team of Abbott and Leutwyler (King of Glee, 2019), which pictures the boy and his sister with beige-ish skin and dark brown eyes and hair—in the baby’s case, just one little curl spiraling up from the top of her head—has great fun with the witty depictions of the sadly intimidated monsters.

A reassuring message wrapped in rib-tickling humor.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-950033-00-3

Page Count: 26

Publisher: New Classics Pr Llc

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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