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

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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Not necessarily just for Halloween; readers can appreciate it any time.

SHE WANTED TO BE HAUNTED

Which cottage would stand out more in a real estate ad: cute or…haunted?

Clarissa the sentient cottage dislikes cuteness; as a pink, adorable haven for flowers and squirrels, she’s bored. She yearns to be scary and haunted like her father, a gloomy castle, and her mother, a smelly, vermin-infested witch’s hut. Dad gladly donates clouds but tells Clarissa it’s OK to be herself. The clouds are a bust because they bring rain, which brings forth…a rainbow, plants, and birds. Mom supplies a reeking bottle whose contents allegedly repel living things. Clarissa opens it but…attracts playful dogs. Finally abandoning her desire for a ghostly boarder, Clarissa invites her animals to remain. At the end, a particular creature’s unexpected arrival—and its most uncharacteristic behavior—reveal Clarissa’s true nature: horrible and cute. And she’s just fine with that. This rhyming story is certainly an unusual take on the finding-oneself trope. The bouncy verses mostly read and scan well, include sophisticated vocabulary, and provide Clarissa with a spunky, appealing personality. Different typefaces represent the voices of Clarissa, each parent, and the narrator. The cheerful, lively illustrations are very colorful but a trifle twee; Clarissa and her parents are differentiated through vivid pinks, dreary shades, and anthropomorphic faces. Nature blossoms via bright depictions of flowers, trees, animals, and birds.

Not necessarily just for Halloween; readers can appreciate it any time. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68119-791-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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