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THE SCARIEST MONSTER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD by Pamela Mayer

THE SCARIEST MONSTER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD

By Pamela Mayer (Author) , Lydia Monks (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: July 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23459-4
Publisher: Putnam

Thea Dewhickey’s parents might be a couple of potato-heads, but they are also overachievers of the worst type: They overachieve for their daughter. Young Thea wants to be a scary monster for Halloween, with “claws and fangs and green scales and blood dripping off the corners of my mouth, and maybe even an ax coming out of my head” . . . that sort of thing. The Dewhickeys, angling for first prize at the costume parade, think she ought to be a butterfly, or perhaps a Spanish dancer. But Thea wards off their importuning until her Grandma arrives on the scene to take things in hand. Thea gets her scary costume, and Mr. and Mrs. Dewhickey get to be, respectively, a Spanish dancer and a butterfly. They even win honorable mentions. Though the self-serving parents get hoisted on their own petards, Mayer keeps a poker-face on the narrative—“The judges thought the butterfly costume Grandma made for Mrs. Dewhickey was dreamy . . . Thea was so proud”—so it never feels obvious or punishing. On the other hand, Monks’s artwork, of paint and collage, is comic relief of the highest sort, with great clunky shapes, electric colors, and wide expressive eyes. Leave it to the always-witty Monks to make Grandma a witch with skeleton earrings, purple purse, and pointy hat (a fact never mentioned in the text). Will appeal to monsters everywhere. (Picture book. 3-7)