No need to invest in this “store.” (Picture book. 4-7)

THE MONSTORE

If only monsters could be purchased to help out with everyday challenges such as gobbling up icky casseroles, providing the perfect amount of glow when it is dark or “frighten[ing] pesky little sisters.”

This is a story of such a place—a monstore—that is difficult to find and has a very strict refund policy: “No returns. No exchanges.” Zach is fed up with his younger sister Gracie’s intrusions into his bedroom. At the Monstore, he purchases a fearsome, red, three-eyed creature named Manfred to keep Gracie out of his space. Instead, Manfred shows Gracie his hiding place, and then they both scare Zach. Exasperated with Manfred’s performance, he tries to take him back. The Monstore manager holds firm to his policy but suggests he add another. “Monsters make bigger scares in pairs.” And so things go with Mookie and Mojo and more, until the house is full of ineffectual creatures. Zach decides to move to the basement, but soon Gracie comes to him for help with a particularly scary, “glitzy, glittery thing.” The siblings’ relationship mended, Gracie comes up with a plan to deal with the out-of-control monster overflow. Appealing though the premise is, the joke is dragged out a few monsters too many, and though Burks’ illustrations have a pleasant, Pixar-esque feel, the story just isn’t terribly memorable.

No need to invest in this “store.” (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2017-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more