Here’s hoping readers who are similarly challenged in the behavior department will get both messages: Teachers are people,...

READ REVIEW

MY TEACHER IS A MONSTER! (NO, I AM NOT.)

A behaviorally challenged little boy for whom paper airplanes are a particular weakness learns to see his teacher as a person when he meets her outside the classroom.

Bobby’s teacher stomps, roars and takes away recess (not without reason). The little boy’s one refuge is the park—but so is Ms. Kirby’s. In a marvelously illustrated, wordless spread, Brown shows how both Ms. Kirby and Bobby feel when their private moments are interrupted by the other. But in a show of maturity, Bobby understands that running away (no matter how much he may want to) will only make things worse. Some painful small talk and a hat rescued from the wind slowly lead the two to deeper interaction. And when Bobby takes her to his favorite high overlook, Ms. Kirby, who has slowly been losing her green skin, spiky teeth, hippolike nostrils and hulking bulk, silently hands him a piece of paper. The flight is epic. Afterward, Ms. Kirby still roars and stomps and frowns upon paper airplanes in class, though she retains her human features (if not her skin color, at least not all the time). The digitally composited and colored India ink, watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations use a palette of green, shades of tan and brown, aqua and salmon that suits the text’s tongue-in-cheek humor and monster theme, the colors brightening as Ms. Kirby loses her monster-ness.

Here’s hoping readers who are similarly challenged in the behavior department will get both messages: Teachers are people, and they give back what they get. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-07029-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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Both an entertaining spin on back-to-school jitters and an unusual look at service dogs

BONAPARTE FALLS APART

An elementary-age skeleton is afraid he won’t be able to maintain structural integrity at school.

Bonaparte, a friendly-looking skeleton with an oversized skull and red ball cap, has a problem: he just can’t keep it together—literally. Even such an apparently low-impact activity as a visit to the doctor results in a lost limb when his reflexes are tested. Worse than the inconvenience is the fact that it is sometimes very hard to find those lost bits. Bonaparte asks his pals for help. Franky Stein tries to bolt and glue him together, but he’s too stiff to walk. Blacky Widow spins a web around him, but then he’s hopelessly tangled. Mummicula wraps him securely, but then Bonaparte can’t see. But when his friends spy a dog running by with a bone in his mouth, they realize he can be trained to retrieve Bonaparte’s fallen parts. Mandible proves to be both an invaluable help and a hit with all the kids. Terry’s illustrations feature frankly adorable monsters, large heads and eyes combining with very small mouths to make them look as harmless and childlike as possible (though Blacky Widow’s fangs are still rather prominent). He positions his characters in vignettes on white space; when more-complicated backgrounds are introduced, they are rendered in muted colors.

Both an entertaining spin on back-to-school jitters and an unusual look at service dogs . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93768-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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