Little Monster takes the idea of a story from something on a page to something to be lived.

READ REVIEW

I WANT TO BE IN A SCARY STORY

Little Monster wants to be in a scary story…or maybe not.

In a tale told entirely in dialogue, an unseen narrator, whose text is set in black type, interacts with purple Little Monster, who, following suit, speaks in purple. The enthusiastic (and adorable, with two little white horn nubbins on its oversize head, big yellow eyes, and three teeth that sometimes change position) Little Monster eschews the narrator’s idea that it star in a funny story—it wants a scary story. But when the narrator plops it down in a dark and scary wood outside a haunted house, Little Monster’s dialogue bubble says “Oh my golly gosh!” Its body language and wide-eyed fright fill in the gaps. The narrator dials back the scary in stages, Little Monster’s quaint expressions continuing as everything is still too frightening for it—though it does lose some of its naiveté along the way, learning to ask specific questions of the narrator. Jullien’s illustrations are suitably creepy, but because the narrator tells Little Monster in advance what will happen with each turn of the page, they shouldn’t be anything readers can’t handle, and the jump at the end is a satisfying one. And after the final page, readers may just be asking along with Little Monster, “So, can I be in a story again tomorrow?”

Little Monster takes the idea of a story from something on a page to something to be lived. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8953-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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A brightly colored monster tale that begs to be animated. Repeat readings required.

MONSTER TROUBLE!

How do you deal with an infestation of monsters?

“Winifred Schnitzel was never afraid. / Not of monsters or ghouls or the noises they made.” In fact, young Winifred loves pirates and werewolves and scary movies. This doesn’t stop monsters of all shapes and sizes from trying to scare her, but all of their growling and snarling and menacing is for naught, as Winifred thinks monsters are cute. However, their nightly visits are keeping her awake, so she buys a book (Monsters Beware!) for monster-trapping ideas. The sticky-string trap doesn’t work, and neither does the stinky cheese (they just eat it). She’s so pooped she sleeps through ballet class. Next, she makes every trap in her monster book, and that tuckers her out to such an extent that she’s already snoring when the monsters arrive the next night. She wakes groggily from a dream of kissing puppies and accidentally kisses a monster on the schnozzle—thus discovering every monster’s weakness. Now she dismisses each monster with a kiss and sleeps very well every night. Fredrickson’s jauntily rhyming tale of brave, African-American Winifred is an excellent balm to monster fears. Robertson’s googly-eyed monsters of all shapes and sizes are cartoon-adorable, with just a hint of toothy, clawed ferocity.

A brightly colored monster tale that begs to be animated. Repeat readings required. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1345-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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