It might lack the mild menace of its predecessor, but it satisfies in its supply of companionship all around.

READ REVIEW

THE MONSTER RETURNS

Jeremy hatches a plan to cope with his monster’s unexpected return.

In the opening scene, Jeremy’s alone, just as he was at the beginning of Jeremy Draws a Monster (2009). He seems content drawing, hoping not to be disturbed, though McCarty’s tempting view of neighborhood kids outdoors implies a gentle question about whether Jeremy’s isolation is really optimal. A paper airplane flies in the window, instructing Jeremy to draw a compass and telescope. Jeremy peers though the telescope (everything he draws becomes real, as in Harold and the Purple Crayon) and sees his old blue monster, who rings up via telephone to declare, “I’m back. And I’m bored!” This announcement means different things to different readers. Those who’ve read Jeremy Draws know that the monster’s bossy and domineering, so they’ll find Jeremy’s monster-diversion scheme a clever defense; new readers may see the plan as simply sweet and fun. Jeremy invites neighbors into his apartment to draw with the fancy pens that carry conjuring power. Each child draws a new monster to partake in the surprise. Copious white space keeps focus on the monster, with his contained, slightly alarming flowery blue swirls, and on the appealingly buoyant kids, drawn in fine, delicate lines and colored with pleasantly pale watercolor.

It might lack the mild menace of its predecessor, but it satisfies in its supply of companionship all around. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9030-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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A metafictive treat.

I WILL CHOMP YOU!

Never mind a monster at the end, there’s a monster all the way through this book!

Starting on Page 1, the protagonist monster uses direct address to warn readers not to turn any pages. The book’s very title reveals the threat behind this warning, and Shea’s toothy monster—all mouth and head and bluster—seems ready to follow through with it. Disobeying the command provokes metafictive peril as warnings to readers persist, and various small creatures depicted on the page (a bird, a frog, and a wee bunny) flee its chomping jaws. The monster misses both them and disobedient readers, growing increasingly angry. Clever illustration choices make it seem as though the monster has chomped through the pages of the book, and soon its commands devolve into pleading. Why? “It’s because I have all my cakes back here, at the end of the book,” the greedy monster explains. In a fiendish ploy to trick readers, the monster offers to share, saying, “just come a little closer…” and a page turn reveals (yet another) “CHOMP!” Defeated, the monster resigns itself to readers’ progress toward the end of the book, and it chomps up all the cakes, leaving it with the just deserts of a bellyache. Throughout, Shea’s vibrant, silly pictures diminish the scariness of the story’s premise and deliver humorous characterization.

A metafictive treat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38986-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Sweet and effective.

ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!

It’s tough having a little brother, even if you’re a monster.

“Once there was Natalie,” a little red monster with big bulging eyes. “And then, there was Alphonse too,” bright blue and about half her size. Natalie doesn’t mind Alphonse, “mostly.” They sit companionably in Mom’s lap to listen to a story. They like to name the pigeons together and love making things. But sometimes Alphonse gets carried away, drawing on things that Natalie has made—even eating them. Natalie hates that. One day she finds him under the bunk beds eating her favorite book. “ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!” she shouts. When Alphonse timidly suggests that maybe they could fix the book (“with jam”), Natalie puts her fingers in her ears so that she can’t hear him, then goes for her bath. While she’s in the tub, she hears a series of strange noises: “a roaring tornado, / screeching beasts, and a thousand glass peas raining from the sky.” Natalie finds Alphonse in his room, sad and exhausted. All the noises that she heard were his outlandish attempts to fix the book. Her only question: “Are you hurt?” Hirst’s screen-printed illustrations, bright primary palette, simple text, and even her bespoke, faux hand-printed typeface (WB Natalie Alphonse) suggest the work of a young child, giving her simple tale an authentic charm.

Sweet and effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8103-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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